Obstetrician - Job Description, Duties, Education, Skills, Salary, & Growth

Obstetrician

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Job Description

 

Obstetricians (OB) specialize in the care of pregnant women. Their main concern and duties revolve around the care of women and their unborn children during pregnancy and childbirth. additionally, they concern themselves with the pre-natal health of the fetus and finally the post-natal care of the mother to ensure recovery.

It is different from gynecology, because gynecology is a broad term for the doctor that treats any disorder or disease that is prevalent in the female reproductive system. 

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Responsibilities

 

Even though both gynecologists and obstetricians can deliver babies, most gynecologists refer their patients to an OB, so they can have more time caring for other patients, not be on-call, and have more regular schedules--and because OBs specialize in child birth.

An obstetrician's main function is to deal with complications that may happen during childbirth. Obstetrician's procedures normally involve both mother and child and include the following:

External Cephalic Version:

  • The process of turning a baby around in the womb to face the correct direction. This is done if the baby is breech and mom wants to attempt a vaginal delivery.

Caesarean (or C) section:

  • In cases where vaginal birth is not an option, an obstetrician surgically cuts the baby out of the womb.

Cervical cerclage:

  • This is to try and strengthen a woman’s cervix to prevent miscarriages. This is done with a suture that is placed around the cervix to keep it closed.

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Skills

 

Obstetrics  Must know all about child birthing procedures, special manipulations and options, and about how to safely deliver a child while ensuring care for the mother. 
Communication Must be able to clearly convey thoughts and ideas about patient's treatment plans and diagnoses. Must correspond with other medical professionals to ensure patient care. 
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing patients and their babies to make sure they are responding well to treatment plans and make improvements or take corrective action when necessary. 
Critical Thinking Must use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making Needs to be able to act autonomously and make difficult decisions that would benefit the patient or make corrections. Must consider all benefits and repercussions of potential actions and choose the appropriate one. 
Complex Problem Solving Must be able to identify complex problems and develop and evaluate corrective options and implement solutions. 
Empathy Must be able to empathize with a patient's pain and difficulties. Need to make people feel comfortable and meet them at their emotional level to humanize themselves since they deal with sensitive issues.
Trustworthiness Must be trustworthy because you have lives in your hands and what you do could help or hurt them. They are entrusted with a great responsibility and must live up to it. 
Operation Monitoring Must be able to monitor gauges and dials and use medical software to give the best updated medical care. 

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Working Conditions

 

OBs are usually referred patients from gynecologist, so they work irregular hours and are on-call to be there when their patient goes into labor.

They generally work in private practices, hospitals, inpatient wards, operating theaters, and delivery suits.  OBs can have irregular schedules and can work nights, weekends, and early mornings depending on the need and their on-call schedules.

 Typically the work week for someone working full-time is 40 – 60 hours plus one to two nights of call per month, but can vary from patient to patient. Obstetricians are starting to work part time or in job share arrangements.  

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Salary Outlook