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Working as an OB-GYN can be a very rewarding experience, as these professionals bring new life into the world. While specializing in obstetrics and gynecology can be very satisfying, it is also a very demanding career choice. A person considering this career should review all the disadvantages to ensure she’s prepared to work in this often trying job.
Long, Irregular Hours
An OB-GYN can work a very erratic schedule. He is often on call, waiting for his patients to go into labor, which can begin at any time of day. He may need to work nights, weekends and holidays. It’s his job to guide his patients through the entire labor process, which can take many hours, so his schedule is subject to change at any time.
All medical specialties are competitive, but becoming an OB-GYN is an especially competitive process. Only top residency candidates can obtain positions in the most prestigious programs, as so many students want the job. An October 2012 article in "The Do" reported that the director of the American Osteopathic Association-approved program at Oakwood Southshore Medical Center in Trenton, Michigan, had four applicants competing for one or two residency positions in 2006; in 2011, he had 85 applicants for one slot. The specialty remains competitive, with more applicants than available positions for residencies. Carolinas HealthCare reports receiving more than 400 applications each year for six first-year resident positions, and overall, about 8 percent of U.S. medical students failed to match with a residency program in 2016.
An OB-GYN must remain objective when treating patients, even if she doesn’t agree with their decisions. Some professionals may have strong personal beliefs about common OB-GYN roles, such as prescribing birth control bills and carrying out abortion procedures. Although a professional is not required to perform these duties, she is not permitted to advise patients against these practices and procedures simply because she does not agree with them.
While a male OB-GYN is a trained professional, he may have to deal with patients who believe he cannot provide the same level of care as a female doctor. Other people may question why he chose to work in a position that treats only women. It can be very frustrating to be met with such doubts when you’re just trying to do your job.
As a medical professional, an OB-GYN is always at risk for malpractice lawsuits. She must carry a great deal of costly insurance to protect her practice in the event that a malpractice suit is brought against her. An OB-GYN can have expensive malpractice coverage, with some physicians reporting insurance costs of up to $200,000 per year.
Laura Woods is a Los Angeles-based writer with more than six years of marketing experience. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Robert Morris University.