Gynecologists are doctors who specialize in the female reproductive system. They provide primary care to women, including routine checkups and contraception. Gynecologists also diagnose and treat conditions that affect the reproductive system, like pelvic pain, infertility, or infections.
As part of their job, gynecologists often explain medical procedures to patients and their families. They must be able to explain complex concepts in a way that is easy for patients to understand. Gynecologists also must be able to communicate effectively with other health care providers and make sure that they understand each patient’s condition and needs.
Gynecologists typically work in hospitals or clinics. Many gynecologists also have their own private practices. Some gynecologists work in research, developing new treatments for diseases like cancer or infertility. Others work in public health, educating women about preventative care and health issues like smoking or obesity.
Gynecologist Job Duties
Typical job duties for gynecologists include the following:
- Diagnosing and treating issues related to the female reproductive system, including cancer of the uterus, ovaries, cervix, vulva, vagina
- Perform physical examinations of patients, which may include taking health histories and performing pelvic exams
- Providing routine screenings for certain cancers (such as breast cancer), sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and other conditions
- Performing surgical procedures such as endometrial ablation or hysterectomy
- Prescribe birth control and other medications to treat infections, reproductive disorders, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and other conditions affecting women’s health
- Providing prophylactic treatment to patients with compromised immune systems to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or transmission of HIV/AIDS during pregnancy
- Providing prenatal healthcare and counseling to patients
Gynecologist Salary & Outlook
The median annual wage for gynecologists is $223,196. The highest earners make over $360,000 per year.
The employment of gynecologists is expected to decline over the next decade. This is due to the growing number of women who are having fewer children, resulting in fewer women needing gynecological services.
Gynecologist Job Requirements
The requirements to become a gynecologist are as follows:
Education: Gynecologists must have a four-year undergraduate degree and a medical degree. When pursuing an undergraduate degree, one should focus on science and biology topics that are relevant to medicine. Thereafter, it can take up to four years to qualify as a gynecologist. In many schools, gynecology programs are combined with obstetrics which is a specialty that deals with pregnancy and childbirth. Stanford University School of Medicine and John Hopkins School of Medicine are some of the more prominent places to study gynecology.
Training: The majority of training takes place during an internship. Interns participate in clinical rotations where they gain experience under the supervision of experienced physicians. They also participate in didactic sessions where doctors teach them about medications and record-keeping systems.
Licensing: Gynecologists must acquire a license with their particular state’s board of medicine. Depending on the state, there may be an exam required to obtain a license.
In addition to medical education, training, and experience, the following skills are required for gynecologists:
Interpersonal skills: It is crucial for gynecologists to have excellent communication skills, so they can discuss difficult topics with patients. A doctor must be able to build rapport with patients and communicate well with fellow healthcare professionals.
Empathy and compassion: Due to the intimate nature of gynecological problems, patients often have embarrassing or uncomfortable problems to discuss. Gynecologists must be empathetic and tactful when discussing sensitive topics such as sexual dysfunction or infertility.
Critical thinking skills: Gynecologists must think critically when diagnosing and treating patients. They must use their knowledge of medicine and anatomy to decide which tests to run, which medications to prescribe, and which procedures to perform.
Stress management skills: As gynecologists consult with many women who are upset about various health problems, they must be able to manage stress without becoming overwhelmed.
Attention to detail: Gynecologists must possess attention to detail as they must read x-rays, operate equipment such as ultrasound machines, insert catheters into patients’ bodies, and carry out sensitive exams such as pelvic exams.
Gynecologist Work Environment
The work environment for gynecologists is generally comfortable and clean but can be emotionally distressing. They are usually on their feet for most of the day, but they may have to do some bending or stooping while examining patients. The job can be stressful at times, because they deal with difficult matters such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, and mental health issues.
Gynecologists must also keep pace with information about medical science and technology in order to provide the best possible care for their patients. They spend time reading journals and attending conferences.
Gynecologist Career Advancement
As a gynecologist gains experience he or she will progress in their position. Depending on the size of the establishment, this might mean advancement to the position of the head of the OB/GYN department or general practice. The larger the department, the more diverse the patients the gynecologist will see, and the greater the number of employees he or she will supervise. They can even specialize in a particular area of gynecology and become an expert in one area, such as fertility or reproductive medicine.
Gynecologists can also apply for a faculty position at a major medical school and engage in teaching and research.
Here are three trends influencing how gynecologists work. Gynecologists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.
Increasing Importance of Cultural Sensitivity
Cultural sensitivity is a critical skill for gynecologists, as many patients who seek treatment from them come from backgrounds that are different than their own.
In order to provide effective care to these patients, it is important for doctors to understand the cultural values and beliefs of the communities they serve so that they can identify health issues at an early stage and recommend preventative measures before more serious problems develop.
Advancements in Treating Reproductive Disorders
A number of new technologies are improving the quality of life for patients suffering from reproductive disorders, largely due to advances in medical technology.
For example, many doctors are now using 3D-printed parts to create personalized medical implants that are designed to perfectly fit each patient’s needs.
This method allows doctors to create prosthetics for each patient, rather than rely on general-use products which can cause discomfort and even pain. This is an especially useful option for patients who have suffered injuries that have caused deformities or require prosthetics.
Focus on Transgender Healthcare
Increased attention to transgender healthcare is growing as an emerging trend for gynecologists. As transgender individuals become more visible in society, this has led to a rise in demand for specialized care within the field of gynecology.
In fact, according to a recent study by Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, one-third of female-to-male transgender patients and one-fifth of male-to-female patients had been denied care from a primary care physician due to their gender identity.
How to Become a Gynecologist
1. Planning Your Career Path
Becoming a gynecologist requires specialized training, so it’s important to decide whether you are interested in medicine or if you prefer another type of specialization. For example, some gynecologists may specialize in obstetrics, while others focus on reproductive health issues.
Because gynecology is such a diverse field, aspiring doctors should take time to explore different aspects of the industry before deciding on a specialty. Some students opt to volunteer at local clinics during medical school; others find that shadowing experienced doctors provides them with invaluable insights into the day-to-day operations of various departments. No matter what path you choose, choosing your specialty early will help you determine how best to prepare for an entry-level position.
2. Writing a Resume
The best resumes for gynecologists demonstrate an ability to communicate effectively. It’s important that you showcase your interpersonal skills by highlighting your ability to build strong relationships with patients while at the same time maintaining professional boundaries.
When listing your work experience, you should focus on the clinical skills you possess, emphasizing any certifications or training related to your specialty.
3. Applying for Jobs
The best way to find a job as a gynecologist is to join professional organizations and social networks that cater to women’s health workers. Networking is the best way to get the information you need about a specific company and where to send your resume. As a gynecologist, you will also want to participate in local community events and donate your time to charity organizations that have a focus on women’s health.
4. Ace the Interview
When interviewing for a gynecologist position, you will be expected to demonstrate your knowledge of the field. Make sure you are familiar with recent developments in gynecological diseases, treatments, and therapies. You should also prepare to discuss the challenges that come along with this type of work, including the emotional demands of dealing with patients or their loved ones when they are experiencing or recovering from a difficult situation.
A well-prepared candidate should have questions about the institution ready to ask in an interview. The company website may have information on its hiring practices and policies. Review it in advance so you can ask relevant questions in your interview.
The interviewer is just as interested in whether you will fit in with the staff as he is in your knowledge of the profession. You will need to be respectful of this person’s time by being brief and clear in your responses. You should be ready to discuss issues around pregnancy and childbirth, abortion and birth control methods, and other relevant topics.