Nursing is a rapidly growing profession with a great number of specialties that offer stable, challenging career paths.
One of the most demanding is obstetrics/gynecology, typically known as OB/GYN.
Working as an OB/GYN puts a nurse in a critical role of providing care for a woman during one of the most emotional and important times of her life. An OB/GYN nurse works with women through their pregnancy, labor and birth of a child.
They also provide postpartum care for women – another extremely important time as women go though many emotional and physical changes.
What Does an OB/GYN Nurse Do?
Nurses who work in obstetrics and gynecology take on a number of important duties aimed at supporting women over the course of their pregnancy. The exact nature of the job can vary depending on where the nurse works.
Those who are in hospital maternity wards assist women during the birthing process. This includes a number of critical jobs, including monitoring the vital signs of both the mother and the baby during delivery.
During the delivery process itself, the nurses essentially act as coaches for the mother. They also are in control of seeking any additional help that a complicated pregnancy might require. It’s difficult and extremely rewarding.
Those who work in clinics and physician offices often will work with mothers during their pregnancy, coaching them on nutrition and other health-related issues. They are present for wellness exams and provide assistance in preparing women for birth.
Beyond that, an OB/GYN also works with adult women and teens on health issues pertaining to their reproductive systems. They also provide information to patients on sexual health and other physical issues, including birth control and mammograms.
Job Growth and Pay
Nursing is one of the fastest-growing professions in the country.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not break out specific numbers for each specialty in nursing. However, the federal projections call for 16 percent growth in the nursing field overall between 2014 and 2024.
There will be an estimated 3.1 million people working as nurses by 2024, according to the BLS.
The median pay for nurses was $68,450 in May 2016, the latest number available. Those in the top 10 percent of the profession made more than $102,990. Salaries can vary widely depending on geographic location, educational level and other factors. Job seekers should do their own research to find salary information pertaining to their particular career field and region.
How to Become an OB/GYN Nurse
Nurses who work in obstetrics and gynecology typically need a bachelor’s degree. Many programs provide the chance for working nurses to move from a licensed practical nurse to a registered nurse. Those who want the top jobs in the profession should consider earning a master’s degree.
The skills required for an OB/GYN nurse include good physical strength and a positive mental outlook. They also need to be detail-oriented, emotionally stable, have critical thinking skills in fast-paced environments and also possess excellent communication skills.
Perhaps most importantly, OB/GYN nurses need to have a great deal of compassion for others. Many of the patients are going through the most emotional and memorable months of their life.
A career path as an OB/GYN provides great challenges and equally great rewards. It’s worth considering both for students and working nurses who wish to specialize in one area.