The Mrs. The Mommy. The M.D.: Reflecting on My Clerkship Experience: Obstetrics & Gynecology

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Reflecting on My Clerkship Experience: Obstetrics & Gynecology

This is looooong overdue, but better late than never ;-) Since I did an additional month of OBGYN in June, I am going to include the details of that too...

From the AAMC Careers in Medicine Clinical Evaluation 

1. Name and Location of Clinical Rotation: 

  • Indiana University Hospital High Risk Obstetrics & Benign Gynecology 
  • Ambulatory Obstetrics & Gynecology: IU Hospital & Wishard Hospital 
2. What did I like most about this specialty?

  • The patient population. Women's health is awesome and all women patients is definitely my favorite...sorry guys!
  • The variety. It is a great balance of ambulatory care, surgery, and even inpatient management.  
  • The longterm patient relationship. I love the idea of keeping up with my patient's lives and having them remain a part of my practice for years...
  • Being a part of such an intimate and unforgettable moment in a family's life. Delivering a baby is an experience that has not compared to anything I have experienced during my clinical years.
  • The subject matter. Being an extrovert can really help you in the medical field, but I think that my openness with sexual health and subjects that others may be less comfortable discussing is another big reason why I love this field. 
  • The hours. OBGYN has such a bad reputation historically with not being family-friendly and not having time for a life outside of the hospital - which used to be true. I really obsessed about speaking with all of the moms that I worked with during my rotation (and thankfully, there were many!). Each physician was very candid about how balance can be a challenge, but they also had great insight on how they made their hours work for them. 
3. What did I like least about this specialty?

  • Miscarriages and loss of term pregnancy. It is so heartbreaking :-( But I will say that I am glad that I feel capable of supporting my patients when they go through such a terrible experience. 
4. Did this clinical rotation give me a good sense of what practice in this specialty would be like? 

Yes, for sure. I got to experience regular obstetrics, maternal fetal medicine (high risk), benign gynecology, night float (5PM-8AM) and even urgent care. I also worked with a lot of different physicians, so I was able to see the different ways one can practice OBGYN as well.

5. Did my interests, values, skills and/or personality "fit" with this specialty? If yes, in what way did they "fit"? If no, why might they not be compatible? 

YES! As far as personality, my attendings and residents have all been very laid-back, open, and approachable. Most days it is a very happy place to be and they celebrate with their patients, and when there is loss, they mourn with their patients too. Regardless of the circumstance, I can see that they love what they do and they love to teach.  I think I would fit in well. The whole time I was on this service I felt like I was with "my people".

And I actually enjoyed studying for this exam because it was all so interesting to me. Even now, with no exam to study for, I find myself reading journals and genuinely interested in learning more and more. Other doctors tell you that you just have that feeling when you know you found your niche and I feel it for sure. I'm so excited!
Photo Credit

6. What are the possible practice settings for specialists in this field? Which of these settings interest me and do I know enough about them? 

All of my exposure has been in the academic field, which I think I would like because I enjoy teaching - even now, it is fun to work with the third year medical students and help teach exam technique. It's funny because that was me like a month ago, but I feel so much more comfortable and capable now. I would like to spend some time in more of private-practice model just so I can see how the two differ.

7. What information do I still need to find out about this specialty? 

How soon can I start? LOL

8. Has my perception of this specialty changed based on my clinical rotation experience? 

Yes, see #2 when I talk about the hours...

9. Did my clinical rotation experience influence the likelihood of choosing a career in this specialty? If yes, how did it influence me? 

For sure. I had a feeling that I would enjoy OBGYN, but I had no idea that I would end up loving it so much!

10. Right now, on a scale of 1-10, how interested am I in this specialty as a career option? 

10!! This is it!

11. Other comments or reflections about this rotation or specialty: 


  • This experience has made me seriously consider Maternal Fetal Medicine (high risk obstetrics) as a career option. I enjoy the gynecology part of the specialty, however, so now I need to start figuring out if this is something I would be willing to part with in my pursuit of MFM. 
  • Also, as a fourth year I got to participate in Residents' Day - it is the day that fourth year residents graduate, so all the residents have the day off for events. This meant that the MS4s were able to act as the interns (first year residents). I was first assist on a c-section and a vaginal delivery that day. It was nerve wrecking because I was actually in charge, but I loved it! (OK, our attendings were the bosses, but nurses were calling us first...)  Definitely gave me a good taste of what it would be like when things were official :-)  
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