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Obstetric technicians and ob-gyn techs, assist during childbirth and provide support to nurses and doctors. They don’t provide direct nursing care but do participate in routine births, cesarean sections, hysterectomies and other procedures related to childbirth or a women’s gynecological health. In addition, they prepare equipment, stock supplies and handle paperwork, among other non-nursing duties.
Education and Training
Duke University Health System notes a high school education should provide some of the required skills, such as understanding and following instructions. Technicians must complete the Obstetrical Technician Training Program, which takes between three and six months and includes formal instruction and on-the-job training. Some colleges offer similar programs. City Colleges of Chicago, for example, offers an 11-credit hour certificate program in Obstetrics and Gynecologic Technology. The program covers anatomy, basic surgical techniques and procedures and safety.
Obstetric technicians need considerable physical strength, because they sometimes must lift heavy equipment and move patients. Duke also prefers that applicants have experience handling sterile supplies and medical instruments. The County of Santa Clara in California prefers applicants to have a certified nursing assistant license unless they have prior experience as obstetric technicians or operating room aides. In addition, OB techs need knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy and surgical techniques and equipment.
Equipment and Surgical Responsibilities
OB techs are responsible for preparing delivery and operating rooms, which typically includes cleaning and inspecting surgical instruments, stocking rooms with supplies and creating a sterile field prior to a procedure. After a procedure, they might assist in the collection or testing of specimens. They also report maintenance or equipment issues, clean delivery and operating rooms and make sure these rooms are ready in case of emergency.
Dealing With Patients
While OB techs don’t provide direct medical care, they do interact with patients and might assist them after childbirth or other medical procedures. For example, they might respond when a patient pushes the call light and also might assist with bathing and other hygiene-related tasks. They also might check vital signs. (See Ref. 3) In addition, at some facilities they assist in the transport, transfer and discharge of patients. (See Ref. 1)
Clerical and Administrative Duties
Some of the tasks assigned to OB techs have nothing to do with medical or nursing care. They also answer phones, file, make copies and order supplies, in addition to answering questions from the public and relaying messages to other employees. They also assist in record keeping by obtaining information to add to patient files. In addition, they sometimes handle billing duties by entering the fees and charges for each patient.