There are many different career options in the field of obstetrics and gynecology—from a physician to a delivery nurse to a labor coach to an ultrasound technologist. While they all entail diverse requirements, working in this highly specialized arena always revolves around the love and passion for women’s health, education, and rights. It is a highly rewarding path, but it also demands certain skills and traits you cannot absorb from a medical textbook alone.

As with most industries, much of the assets you need can be honed on-the-job, but getting a head start and having your frame of mind in the right space throughout the initial stages of your career will be invaluable as you progress.

Some of these recommendations are specific to OB-GYN, while others are beneficial across-the-board, no matter what your discipline may be. Of course, it is still necessary to obtain the right degrees and healthcare knowledge, but success in OB-GYN also depends on other transferable assets.

Educational achievements and medical proficiencies aside, here are five additional areas of expertise worth cultivating if you are interested in the OB-GYN sector.

1. Have a Passion for Women’s Health

By definition, this branch of medicine focuses on this gender exclusively, so in order to pursue a career in OB-GYN, you need to be passionate about women, women’s healthcare, education, and women’s rights. An OB-GYN is no longer only a doctor who delivers babies; he/she is a professional committed to strengthening, educating and advocating for women.

From annual checkups to prenatal care to labor and childbirth and postpartum recovery, the  most important role you have is to form a trusted relationship with each of your patients.

This means acting in the interest of their unique bodies and medical needs, while teaching and empowering them to take charge of their own health. Every aspect of OB-GYN is for the benefit of women, so if that is your passion, continue nurturing it.

2. Stay Up-to-Date on Research and Medical Trends

The healthcare industry is not static, but in constant flux, so you need to be informed on the latest research, updates and innovations affecting OB-GYN. Whether you are in the public or private sector, different trends, approaches or discoveries in the field are going to influence how the practice you work for operates.

From new methods of treatment to changes in insurance network, educate yourself on these shifting dynamics. The research can be overwhelming to keep up with, but knowing more will help you keep your patients healthy and happy.

The more apprised you are, the better equipped you will be to deliver the most efficient and highest quality care to patients. Remember to keep learning and gathering information that can turn you into an even more of skilled and competent OB-GYN specialist.

3. Develop Your Communication Skills

Since a large portion of your job description includes talking to patients, you should know how to communicate effectively, thoroughly, and confidently. The manner in which you interact with patients from the onset will define their whole experience. The more candid, definitive and self-assured you are, the more they will trust in your capabilities, but the more personal and intentional you are, the more they are going to feel cared about as individuals.

Communication requires a balance of each—an educated voice to establish credibility and a sincere, disarming tone to build a relationship. You are guiding patients through a vulnerable procedure, so communicate that you can be trusted.

4. Learn to Be Flexible and Adaptable

OB-GYN clinics are fast-paced environments, so working here demands the flexibility to switch gears at a moment’s notice. While there is a diverse team of physicians, nurses, technicians and other staff members to share the load with, you still need to be prepared for unexpected emergencies or last-minute appointments to readjust your schedule. This means that having reliable time management skills is an absolute necessity.

Otherwise, you could buckle under the pressure of expectations that are constantly being modified or rearranged. But if you can embrace the challenge of a workplace that is never at a standstill, you might just find that unpredictability to be exciting, stimulating, and motivating.

5. Grow in Your Confidence as a Leader

Even if you are not running an entire practice or supervising numerous employees, strong leadership is an attribute you are still going to need for an OB-GYN career. When you adopt the qualities of a positive, influential, and courageous leader, both your patients and colleagues will be reassured by your actions.

You can encourage them to remain calm in stressful or hectic situations. You can troubleshoot issues and empower those around you to be problem-solvers. You can negotiate with pharmacies, insurance companies, and administrative offices on behalf of the patients. Through leadership, you can promote a work setting where morale is high, teams are effective, and patients are satisfied.

Whatever route you pursue in the OB-GYN sector, these transferable skills can directly impact the level of success you are able to reach. Excelling in the academic requisites is important, but once you graduate and enter the medical field, your credentials must extend beyond just textbook knowledge.

Passion for the industry, an eagerness to learn, the confidence to be assertive, a willingness to adapt, and strength as a leader are some of the main components for longevity in this field. So as you embark on this career path, ask yourself honest and pointed questions.

Does this particular type of medicine align with my interests, disposition, or areas of expertise? Am I prepared for the unique, specialized demands the OB-GYN sphere will expect of me? How committed and dedicated am I to improving women’s health?

These questions matter because working in OB-GYN is not just another corporate healthcare job. And you are not just a professional with a clipboard who is authorized to write prescriptions. Nothing could be further from the truth, and to accept this misconception is to limit your own potential. Instead, taking on this role is an opportunity to enhance the lives of women, invest in the well-being of their unborn children, and nurture meaningful relationships that makes putting on those scrubs each day worthwhile.

Written By
Purusha Rivera is the founder and president of My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear. She has poured her heart into creating pregnancy keepsakes that bring happiness and comfort to families across the globe. Her innovative heartbeat kits have blossomed into gender reveal kits, recordable picture frames and beautiful cards as well.

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