Gynecologist Job Description
Gynecologists, including obstetrician gynecologists, are physicians who specialize in women’s health, with particular focus on reproductive health and issues related to pregnancy and fertility. Gynecologists play a central role in women’s health and wellness, providing examinations, diagnoses, and treatment to women of all ages. They also help women who are dealing with reproductive cancers and fertility issues in collaboration with other medical providers and specialists. This role requires extensive training, but gynecologists are in high demand and tend to be well-compensated.
Gynecologist Duties and Responsibilities
Based on postings that we analyzed, most gynecologists share several essential responsibilities:
Conduct Patient Medical Examinations
One of the central duties of a gynecologist is conducting patient medical examinations, with a primary focus on the female reproductive system. These examinations can range from routine examinations and pap smears to complicated surgeries. Gynecologists conduct physical examinations and use medical imaging technologies to fully examine patients and identify any medical issues.
Gynecologists also develop diagnoses for patients, using information gathered from examinations and symptoms reported by the patient to determine the causes of reproductive issues. Gynecologists may determine several possible causes of patient symptoms and develop treatment plans to address the most likely disease or disorder. They may also need to revise diagnoses based on new evidence or ineffective treatments.
Perform Surgery and Other Medical Procedures
Many gynecologists also perform surgery on patients. These can range from tubal litigation and hysterectomies to biopsies and the removal of lesions or cysts. This aspect of the role requires extensive training and familiarity with female reproductive systems, along with a steady hand and the ability to correctly determine when surgeries are medically necessary.
Gynecologists also prescribe medication and therapies to support patient health and well-being. This can range from birth control pills, patches, and implants to antibiotics and other medications to help resolve reproductive system diseases and issues. Gynecologists may also recommend therapy and technologies to improve fertility, often in consultation with in vitro fertilization specialists.
Provide Assistance During Childbirth
Another central role of the gynecologist is providing assistance to women during their pregnancy, labor, and childbirth. Throughout a pregnancy, a gynecologist performs regular physical examinations and procedures to monitor both fetal and patient health. During labor, gynecologists provide direct patient support and assistance to safely deliver babies. Additionally, gynecologists may determine that a C-section is necessary to protect the patient and baby.
Promote Patient Health and Well-being
In addition to providing direct patient care, gynecologists also promote patient health and well-being through programs within hospitals and communities. These can include regular screenings, community outreach and education, and programs to provide examinations and treatment to low-income individuals. Gynecologists may also prepare reports related to these programs and obtain funding for further outreach.
Gynecologist Skills and Qualifications
Gynecologists perform a wide range of services aimed at supporting women’s health. Gynecologists need to complete medical school and a residency and possess the following skills:
- Medical knowledge – gynecologists remain up to date on medical developments within their field, so they need extensive familiarity with patient care and disease prevention
- Problem-solving skills – in this role, gynecologists gather patient information and conduct examinations to help patients resolve or prevent health issues, so strong problem-solving skills are vital
- Bedside manner – gynecologists interact directly with patients, and should be able to patiently and calmly explain procedures, ask questions, and keep patients comfortable during procedures
- Analytical skills – because gynecologists use a variety of methods to gather patient data and conduct medical examinations, they need excellent analytical skills to interpret the results of tests and physical examinations
- Communication skills – gynecologists should have excellent written and verbal communication skills to successfully interact with patients, their families, and other medical care providers
Gynecologist Education and Training
Becoming a gynecologist requires extensive training and education. Most gynecologists complete a bachelor’s degree in pre-med or a related field and score highly on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) before entering a four-year program at a medical school. These programs include both classroom and clinical experience. After successfully completing medical school, gynecologists must complete a four-year residency program under the supervision of more experienced doctors. Finally, gynecologists need to obtain certification and a state-issued license, which requires further examinations.
Gynecologist Salary and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), gynecologists earned a median annual salary of more than $208,000 as of May 2017. While the BLS does not provide data related to the highest-paid physicians in this field, its estimates do show that the lowest-paid ten percent of gynecologists and obstetricians earned less than $93,000 per year.
The BLS also does not provide employment outlook information specifically related to obstetricians and gynecologists. However, its estimates for physicians and surgeons as a whole show that employment will grow at a faster-than-average rate of 13 percent between 2016 and 2026.
We searched the web and found many resources if you’d like to learn more about working as a gynecologist:
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) – the ACOG is a professional and clinical organization for gynecologists and obstetricians, providing resources for practicing doctors, including publications and educational materials.
Williams Gynecology by Barbara L. Hoffman, John O Schorge, Karen D. Bradshaw, Lisa M. Halvorson, Joseph I. Schaffer, and Marlene M. Corton – this comprehensive textbook contains information on gynecologic healthcare and a surgical atlas that provides a valuable reference for gynecologists.
American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society (AGOS) – AGOS promotes women’s healthcare by providing doctors with a wide range of resources and annual meetings to advance their knowledge base and improve their practice.
Comprehensive Gynecology by Rogerio A. Lobo, David M. Gershenson, and Gretchen M. Lentz – read this evidence-based textbook to learn key concepts and current information about gynecological practice ranging from routine examinations to in vitro fertilization.
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