Tag Archive: Spotlights: OB/GYN

Spotlight Interview: Why did you choose OB/GYN?


An OB/GYN Resident’s Perspective: From an interview with an obstetrics and gynecology resident at Banner Good Samaritan, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Part of an interview series entitled, “Specialty Spotlights“, which asks medical students’ most burning questions to physicians of every specialty.  See what doctors from every specialty had to say about why they chose their specialty and how to match in their residency.


  • What attracted you to OB/GYN?

I enjoyed the opportunity of working with women over the course of their lifetime health care needs.  From adolescent to geriatric patients you can develop life-long relationships with your patients and families.  Labor and Delivery is exciting and fun to be a part of.  Delivering patients was rewarding and the patients generally are very appreciative of your service. I also enjoyed working with the type of people who typically choose Ob/gyn as a career. I tried to talk myself out of it because of what others had to say, but throughout 3rd year medical school, every subsequent rotation came back to how much I enjoyed Ob/Gyn and I realized that I wouldn’t have been happier in any other specialty.


  • Describe an OB/GYN typical work day?

Usually it starts early (to the hospital before 6 most days, this will get better after residency), postoperative and postpartum rounding on patients in the hospital then usually clinic 3-4 days per week.  Most Ob/Gyn’s will have one full day of surgery per week.  Depending on the group you practice with, you’ll be on call about every 4th night for deliveries and one weekend a month.  Clinic may be interrupted by deliveries but they are usually quick.


  • What type of lifestyle can an OB/GYN expect?  

It is highly variable, if you choose to be on call for all of your patient deliveries, you can expect to be interrupted frequently as babies are born at all hours.  However most practices will share call amongst the group and with other groups.  Usually Ob/Gyn’s will be on call every 3rd-4th night and maybe one weekend a month.  That is typically home call and you come in for deliveries only. Many Ob/gyn’s are working parents and often female with a relatively normal home and family life.


  • What is the average salary of an OB/GYN?

Salary is highly variable based on call schedule and region but most will typically start in the low 200’s initially for most urban areas.  Rural regions tend to start much higher but the call schedule can be more demanding as well.  It is not unusual to increase significantly, again based on call schedule and delivery volume.


  • What is the job market like for OB/GYN?

Great! As long as people keep having babies!  There is a projected shortage in all aspects of medicine and Ob/Gyn is no different.  You can typically find a job close to any area where you may want to live.


  • What can you tell us about OB/GYN Sub-specialties?

All subspecialties are three year fellowships: Gynecologic oncology, Maternal Fetal medicine, Reproductive endocrinology and infertility and urogynecology.  Salaries and lifestyles are generally improved with all of those specialties to varying degrees and there is always a market for them.


  • What are the potential downsides of OB/GYN that students should be aware of?

Like I mentioned before, babies are born at all hours, especially at 3 o-clock in the morning.  However you can make the schedule what you want, if you join a large group you’d have to take less call but you’d likely be busier during those call nights.  Malpractice insurance and lawsuits are a well known downside to the field. As long as you understand this going into it and it is not a surprise, it will not be a problem.


  • What else would you tell medical students who are considering OB/GYN?

In the end you choose a specialty that you really enjoy. Don’t choose solely based on lifestyle or salary.  Don’t try to fool yourself either though, those things are important but if you hate your job, it makes for a miserable lifestyle.



Editor's Note: For more help choosing a specialty in medicine, I highly recommend one or both of these two great books. I found both very useful.


Spotlight Interview: Matching in OB/GYN


An OB/GYN Resident’s Perspective:  From an interview with an obstetrics and gynecology resident at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona.

Part of an interview series entitled, “Specialty Spotlights“, which asks medical students’ most burning questions to physicians of every specialty.  See what doctors from every specialty had to say about why they chose their specialty and how to match in their residency.


  • How competitive is the OB/GYN match?

The overall competitiveness of OB/GYN is about average. The average board score for Step 1 is usually in the low to mid 220s. There are many more female applicants than male applicants right now.


  •  What must a student do to match well in OB/GYN?

Audition rotations in programs you are interested in can be very helpful but you have to impress people during the rotation. It is very easy to do a rotation and just coast through it.  They are called audition rotations for a reason.  Do well on Step 1, show improvement on Step 2 if needed and get letters of recommendation from people who really know you, not just big names


  • What are residencies looking for in an OB/GYN applicant?
Programs are looking for someone who is motivated, works hard and helps those around them.  Intelligence is obviously important but strong work ethic goes much farther.


  • What should students look for in an OB/GYN residency?

Look for a program where the residents are happy.  Well trained and well taken-care-of residents are happy residents and it is obvious on interview day which residents are happy.  It is important to note not just what the residents tell you but how they say it.  Every one of them will say they are happy and pleased with the program but it is easy to see those that are truly happy.

Editor’s Note: I remember a number of resident’s giving me similar advice throughout medical school. I must admit, I was skeptical. Anyone can fake it during an interview day, right? How can I learn in residents are happy during an 8 hour interview? The reason everyone will keep telling you to pay attention to this is because it is ABSOLUTELY tangible if the residents are happy or not. If you are paying attention, there is no way they can fool you. Happy residents are excited to see each other, they speak to their attendings when they see them and have ongoing friendships with them, they have lives outside of work, they don’t have to think long about why they love their program, they are quick to explain what features of their program set it apart. You may not think this is a big deal now, but I assure you that the temperament of a residency program will make or break the next 3-7 years of your life.


  • Do you have any advice on the application, letters of recommendation, personal statements, or how to rank programs?

Get letters from doctors who know you well, not just big names. As a fact, personal statements are cheesy but try to minimize cliché terms. Rank programs on gut feel taking all things into consideration.


  • What do you wish you knew before application/interview season?  

I prepared well. Just read as much as you can about the match and be prepared to ask questions during your interviews.


  • What other advice do you have for students applying to OB/GYN residency?

Do what you enjoy, you’ll be training in this specialty and working in it for the next 35 years so make sure you like what you do and the type of people you’ll be working with.


Editor's Note: Applying for residency or preparing for your interviews? I highly recommend First Aid for the Match, The Successful Match: 200 Rules to Succeed in the Residency Match, and The Residency Interview: How To Make the Best Possible Impression .