What factors influenced your decision to choose this branch of medicine?
Obs and gynae excited me as a medical student where there was very much a practical hands on experience (now sadly lacking!)
What are the hours like? How intensive is your work schedule?
Compared to when I was a trainee and a new consultant the hours are fine, but there is quite a bit of night work however the compensation is less work during the day!
Is there scope for flexibility, for example part-time work?
Certainly in training and for some at consultant level. Job shares are the norm for flexible trainees.
What are the highlights and advantages of working in this specialty?
Bringing the next generation(s) safely into the world. Suits both men and women and particularly those who wish a surgical component to their work. Plenty of adrenaline and sense of achievement.
… and the challenges and disadvantages?
Dealing with unexpected bereavements when expectations are of normality remains a challenge. It’s not 9-5 but Medicine is not 9-5, I knew that when I started.
What are the routine aspects, if any, of your role?
Antenatal clinics, gynae clinics, ward rounds and labour ward cover. Being on call, the paper work and admin and attending meetings.
… and the more unusual experiences to date?
Unexpected rarities, like finding a rare uterine abnormality during Caesarean section. Dealing with the media after a press release from the Trust. Meeting Princess Diana in association with a medical charity.
Please describe your duties in a typical day.
Gynae clinic in the morning and a dedicated teaching clinic with medical students in the afternoon. Alternatively a whole day 8.30 -5.30 on labour ward and a combination of meetings, discussion of previous days emergencies, elective Caesarean sections with trainees and supervising emergency Caesarean sections, plus the occasional laparoscopic ectopic. Added to this are numerous requests for advice about patients on the wards.
What are the necessary personality characteristics for this career?
Ability to be calm but also enthusiastic. Dedicated, quick thinking and perhaps an adrenaline junkie…that wears off!
What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a career in this branch of medicine?
Do it! It’s a real combination of acute medicine and surgery and no day is exactly the same. It has enormous opportunities to sub specialise and for the right person at the right time to undertake cutting edge research.
How competitive is this specialty?
Entry is getting more competitive and I feel that the entry level has increased especially this year.
Obstetrics and gynaecology is probably the specialty with the widest options from a single point entry.