What is a Gynecologist?
A Gynecologist is a specialized type of Doctor. Also known as: Obstetrics Gynecology MD, Obstetrics Gynecology Physician, OB/GYN Physician, Obstetrics and Gynecology Physician, Physician Gynecologist, OB/GYN, Obstetrician/Gynecologist.
Table of Contents
- What is a Gynecologist?
- What does a Gynecologist do?
- How to become a Gynecologist
- What is the workplace of a Gynecologist like?
- What kind of personality should a gynecologist have?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a gynecologist?
- Further Reading
- Similar Careers
A gynecologist is a medical doctor that specializes in women's reproductive systems. Separate doctors that specialize in treating women have existed for centuries, and these ancient specialists are the forefathers of today's gynecological doctors and researchers. Gynecologists are often at the forefront of debates over women's health and healthcare. While a general physician may be able to pinpoint and treat minor women's health issues, the expert opinions of gynecologists are absolutely necessary when it comes to certain aspects of women's health.
How to Become a Gynecologist
What does a Gynecologist do?
A gynecologist performs a variety of tests and exams focused on women's health. Gynecologists are responsible for performing the standard yearly exam on adult women to ensure their reproductive health. During this exam, the doctor will physically examine the woman, perform a pap smear, perform STD tests, complete a breast exam, and monitor the woman's use of birth control. Gynecologists are also sometimes certified as obstetricians, and will monitor the health of the mother and the fetus during a pregnancy.
In addition to the above, a gynecologist must also monitor some of the same medical conditions in women as her general practitioner. For example, if a woman has diabetes, her gynecological specialist must inform her of how her disease is impacting her reproductive organs. Gynecologists also diagnose problems that women may be having with their reproductive organs, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome or cervical cancer. They may also check for vaginal infections and urinary tract infections in women complaining of lower abdominal pain or sexual pain. Gynecologists also perform minor surgeries on women's reproductive organs, such as tube tying.
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How to become a Gynecologist
In order to be a gynecologist, one must complete many years of rigorous schooling and education. A student must graduate from high school with high marks, then take a pre-med track during their four year undergraduate degree. Most aspiring gynecologists major in fields like Biology, Women's Studies and Chemistry. It is imperative that an aspiring gynecologist maintain a high GPA during their undergraduate years, as well as perform well on the MCAT. Next, one needs to be admitted to and complete four years of medical school. After medical school, the doctor must complete their internship and residency, which can take anywhere from three to eight additional years. It is a good idea for the doctor to then become board certified by completing the requirements laid out by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
What is the workplace of a Gynecologist like?
Gynecologists are generally self-employed physicians who own their own practice, or partner in a practice with other gynecologists. Some are employed by hospitals, state agencies, and charitable organizations. Still others work in colleges and universities doing research or are professors in university medical programs.
All gynecologists work in either a medical or an educational field, sometimes both. Gynecologists are needed throughout the world, and the demand for doctors in this profession is only growing. In the US alone, the job market for gynecologists is expected to grow 24% over the next decade. Most gynecologists report that they enjoy their work, however, many also report that their work is stressful and takes a lot of time away from their family and social life.
A gynecologist treats the overall health of their female patients, treating problems and diseases of the female reproductive system such as breast and hormonal problems, urinary tract and pelvic disorders, and cancer of the cervix. Most often than not, a gynecologist is an obstetrician as well.
Considering the intimate nature of their work, a gynecologist needs to have patience when talking to their patients. They need to ask leading questions in a respectful and compassionate way in order to get the patient to open up and fully discuss what the issue is.
Embarrassment can prevent many women from fully discussing their issues with the doctor, be it a teenager or an elderly woman. Therefore, building trust with the patient is imperative, as this will allow the patient to divulge private issues more easily. Trust is gained by really listening to what the patient is saying, paying close attention to even the smallest details of the patient's problem and being thorough in the research.
No matter how many times the gynecologist has heard the same problem or the same symptoms, she needs to remember that to the individual it is a major concern, and needs to listen in a sympathetic and compassionate manner.
An advantage to becoming a gynecologist is that employment for gynecologists is projected to grow by 18 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are a variety of job locations to choose from - private practice, hospitals, health organizations, and clinics. Another advantage is that one gets to choose a specialty in a particular area, such as fertility, or gynecological cancer, or obstetrics, which can provide different challenges in a career should one wish to try something new.
The disadvantages to being a gynecologist come with the nature of the job. Working as a gynecologist does have some level of stress. At times, you may need to share unfortunate news with a patient and their family, such as a cancer diagnosis or a pregnancy complication of some sort. If obstetrics is the chosen specialty, there will be many middle of the night and weekend calls to the hospital to deliver a baby. After several years of disrupted sleep, this lifestyle may start to wear a bit thin.
Dr. Rebecca Ponder, OB/GYN
Inside The Doctor's Studio: Obstetrics & Gynecology
Obsterician Gynecologist Dr. Adam Paer Video Interview
Obstetrician: Why Do You Enjoy This Work? - Dr. Carrillo
OBGYN Career Highlights & Work-Life Balance
I Love My Job: OB-GYN's
So You Want To Be An Obstetrician And Gynecologist