Ob/Gyn Clerkship

I finished up my Ob/Gyn rotation at the end of December, right before we headed out for our awesome New Zealand adventure, and never got around to telling y’all about it…so here we go!

Obstetrics & Gynecology

This is a specialty that deals solely with all the amazing (and occasionally scary and not-so-amazing) things the female reproductive tract can do.

Obstetrics is derived from the latin word “obstare” which means “to stand by.” Obstetricians take care of women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, in the process of becoming un-pregnant or who have recently given birth. It’s a unique field in that it requires the physician take care of two patients who are literally joined together for a time.

Gynecology is the counterpart of the field of obstetrics and deals with normal physiology, as well as disease, of the female reproductive tract. It involves everything from surgery to clinical preventative care and encompasses a large array of normal and abnormal medicine.

The Clerkship

  • 8 Weeks: Rotations on Labor & Delivery, Night Float, Outpatient Obstetrics, Reproductive Endocrinology, Inpatient Gynecology, Outpatient Gynecology and Gynecological Oncology
  • Occasional lectures, practice clinical exams on Fridays
  • Night Float: A week on the L&D floor at night, 5:30pm – 7:30am. Includes attending births and delivering multiparous patients, as well as triaging patients who come in with obstetrical issues
  • Labor & Delivery: Basically identical to night float, but in the day-time hours
  • Outpatient: Straightforward obstetrics and gynecology clinics, including some time in ultrasound, high-risk Ob & general clinics
  • Reproductive Endocrinology: A field I enjoy immensely, helping women with fertility issues achieve & sustain pregnancy
  • Gynecological Oncology: Diagnosis & treatment of cancers of the female reproductive tract
  • Inpatient Gynecology: Benign surgical gynecology

Daily Life

  • Varies greatly depending on what week of the rotation we were on. Outpatient clinic is generally 8am – 5pm, while surgical specialties tended to have longer hours and Labor & Delivery/Night Float is a pretty set 12-ish hour day.

Ob/Gyn Clerkship Books


What I Like

  • The Patients: By & large the population in this field is young, healthy patients getting routine care…there are exceptions, but the “bread and butter” of Ob/Gyn is the young, healthy woman.
  • The Field: I don’t know why it didn’t strike me until I was in the midst of this rotation, but this area of medicine has always been my favorite intellectually. Studying for this rotation wasn’t studying for me, it was interesting. In anatomy pelvis & perineum was my best (and favorite) section, reproductive physiology was by far my favorite…and reproductive endocrinology could hold my attention for hours. I just find it interesting & exciting.
  • Variety: A little bit of clinic, a little bit of surgery, a little bit of boredom and a little bit of adrenaline…all around fun!
  • Happiness: Sure, when things are bad in Obstetrics they are really bad and usually involve a lot of sadness. However, this is one of the only fields of medicine that deals extensively with happiness. People are never excited to be in the hospital, but if they get to leave with a baby it definitely offers some consolation…much happier than being admitted for a ruptured aortic aneurysm or acute kidney failure or alcoholic liver cirrhosis.
  • Surgery: I thought I would hate everything about surgery…when I didn’t it threw me for a loop. Until this rotation I would say I was about 90% sure I was going into Pediatrics, because I seriously thought I would hate being in the OR. Now, I’m not sure.
  • Active: This field is a lot about doing – even in clinic. You’re always doing something, which helps keep me focused and maintain my attention…pap smears, biopsies, surgeries, deliveries, ultrasounds, etc. Lots of activity in Ob/Gyn.

What I Dislike

  • Family Friendliness: It’s no secret that surgical fields are less family friendly than non-surgical fields. However, this is rapidly changing with each graduating class of new physicians. I experienced no negativity towards women in Ob/Gyn who have a family, but it wasn’t as overtly supportive as some of the other rotations have been.
  • Hours: Unpredictable hours can be frustrating for planning the rest of your life.

Going into this rotation I knew I would love the Obstetrics part, I have a real interest in all things reproductive (hardy har, keep the jokes to yourself…this blog is family friendly…usually) and thus knew I would seriously enjoy the part of the rotation that dealt with Ob. So, why did I never really consider this a career option for myself? I figured I would hate the Gynecology & surgery part of it.

And…when I didn’t it threw a loop in my life plans. Now I’m not sure what I want to do with my life…

It’s like I can hear the time ticking away…things I need to get done that aren’t getting done…letters of recommendation, away rotations, personal statements. AH!

But, like my mom told me the other day – I guess it’s better to like two areas & not be able to choose one than to go through all of this and hate everything.

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13 Comments + Add Comment

  • we got one on the hook…..

    The lifestyle isn’t so bad. Everybody is in groups now and shares call. Greatest job in the world.

    • Yup yup, definitely considering it. Still a bit stumped as to what I want to do for the rest of my life, but it will likely be either this or Peds. We shall see.

  • I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed it! I had a feeling that you were going to though, just from reading your blog and learning about the topics that matter to you. I felt very similarly to you after going through my clerkship, and ended up missing Ob/Gyn so much afterwards. This is the field you should go into if you can’t see yourself doing anything else – it’s go so many great opportunities and so much variety in the way it can be practiced! Good luck to you – if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

    • Thanks so much! I wish it was an easy decision, it’s making me crazy not having a plan and everything. I feel so anxious!

  • YAY for OB/GYN! It’s all the best thing in medicine wrapped into one specialty: a little inpatient, a little outpatient, a little OR time, a little primary care, and then there’s the deliveries :) And I do agree that it’s becoming much more manageable as a surgical sub-specialty as more women comprise the field. Good luck soul searching!

    • Thanks…I have hard decisions to make in the next few months! I definitely agree – the variety was surprisingly fun and allowed for a good mix of different types of medicine even though the field is somewhat narrowly focused.

  • I felt the same way towards surgery and surgery clerkship beforehand. I thought I wouldn’t like being in the OR and that I’d prefer talking to conscious patients for hours than cutting open their bodies. Now that I’m actually doing it, I gotta admit that I LOVE it! Even more surprising, I find that I’m deeply fascinated by the field of emergency medicine.

    Funny how these things reveal themselves, isn’t it?

    • I like Emergency Medicine as well, but it’s becoming so much more like Family Medicine and less like emergency/trauma care in the states that it’s less attractive to me. I definitely enjoyed surgery more than I thought I would, but I would not want to be a general surgeon – just not for me.

  • Hi! I’m a 4th year at another texas med school and wanted to express my sympathy for your dilemma, as I was in the same situation- peds vs ob-gyn- myself just a year ago. I could have written your post myself, as I loved the same things about ob-gyn, and also worried about the same things about it.

    One field you might want to look into is adolescent medicine. It’s a pediatrics residency, but you get to do a lot of gyn, deal with reproductive health, and lots of other interesting teen issues.

    My advice- Keep your mind open and dont stress, collect lots of info about the two specialties and talk with LOTS of grown up pediatricians/ ob-gyns to see which will fit you best.

    And congrats on almost making it to fourth year, enjoy the vacation that is coming your way!!

    • Hi Kate, thanks so much for stopping by and for your wise words! Easier said than done, unfortunately haha. I am definitely stressing at this point – I feel like I should be scheduling away rotations and getting letters of recommendation, but I find myself struggling to even decide what I should be doing the rotations in or who I should be getting letters from!

      Adolescent Med is interesting, but I love the Ob and Fertility part of the field so much I’m afraid I would miss it if I focused only on adolescent med. I really enjoy Gyn (and expected to hate it), but I also seriously loved the obstetrics part.

      Good luck with Match Day next week!! :) Where are you hoping to go?

  • how can i apply for this clerkship ?

    • Hi Ahmed,

      This is a standard rotation that US medical students will do during their 3rd year of medical school. It’s not an application-type clerkship, it’s a scheduled part of our education. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

  • First, thank so much for your blog – I love it! I started reading it during my 1st year of medical school. I am now in my 3rd year and found out that I am pregnant..yeah! I am due the end of July between 3rd/4th year, which should be an interesting experience. I have already had Peds and OB/GYN (I delivered 30 babies…it was such an amazing experience). I don’t think I have time to read a baby/pregnancy book and feel pretty comfortable with the whole process. I am just wondering if you thought your OB and Peds rotations prepared you well enough for what you experienced during your pregnancy and afterwards, or if you thought a certain book was extra helpful. Thanks!

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About The Author

I'm an ObGyn. I started this blog as a medical student (some would call that doctor school) and now I'm working as an Ob/Gyn, which is seriously the coolest job ever. I'm a twin mom and recently added a baby brudder to the mix. My life story through November 2010 can be viewed here. The events in the many years following can be summed up as wedding bells, books, exams, babies, and doctoring. I started this blog in hopes of landing a role in a Lifetime movie so I could quit medicine and move to Hollywood, but that hasn't if you wouldn't take medical advice from Angelina Jolie, you shouldn't take it from me. I may not even be a real person. In fact, I'm probably a spambot. Or possibly a 15 yo boy blogging from a dingy basement. If you're really interested you can read more about me here. If you have any questions or want to guest post contact me.

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