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What do you do for a living?

I’m a medical doctor. I’m an obstetrician gynecologist.

How would you describe your job to someone?

Labor-intensive. Ha-ha.

Well, number one, it is a very satisfying position. You have the opportunity, from an obstetrical standpoint, to share in the families’ greatest days of their lives. When you look back and ask a family, mother or father, what are the best days of their lives, they’ll say the wedding and the birth of our children or something like that.  I get to share that all the time with every baby I deliver.

Almost every baby I deliver there is a lot of joy and it is a great thing to experience with the family. Also, unfortunately, when you talk about emotion I am with them in their lowest of lows when you tell them that they are having a miscarriage or they have a malformed fetus or maybe a lethal fetal anomaly. It’s the hardest days of their lives and to be able to be there for them at that time, it is very rewarding also.  Fortunately there are far more good days than bad in what I do but even in the bad times it’s rewarding to help them get through it.

From a gynecological part of it, a woman is trusting me with her intimate details and intimate parts of her anatomy that are needing help, whether it’s a cancer screening, pap smear, if it’s for contraception or family planning or problems due to infection or whatever. It’s almost always a very personal matter. For someone to entrust that to you is very rewarding.

What does your work in entail?

A lot of hours unfortunately.  I work 8 to 5, Monday through Friday except the day that I am on call and then on that day I start at 6:30 and go basically until 7 o’clock the next morning, a 24-hour shift. I do that one day a week when I’m on call. And then, because I have good partners, one out of every seven weekends I’m on call from Friday morning until Sunday night so that’s a long weekend.

What I do is fun. It has its hazards. There’s risk associated with it, but the joy that we get with it is immeasurable.

During my 8 to 5, I’m in a clinic checking on obstetrical patients, checking their progress, looking for problems, and also at the same time doing any gynecologic work.  We serve as a family practitioner to many women, just for the routine physicals and blood tests, cancer screening, preventive maintenance exams or regular, for their annual examinations or annual physicals, and then, of course, we uncover problems like cervical precancerous lesions, etc. We also do vaccinations and we do a lot of general medicine too. We are many women’s only doctors so if they have a sinus infection or a urinary tract infections, different things like that, we do that as well.

I also have a pretty busy gynecology practice where we deal with stress incontinence, well, any kind of urinary incontinence and prolapsed vaginal walls, whether your bladder, your rectum has prolapsed into the vagina. We do a lot of surgery. I have a very busy practice regarding minimally invasive procedures where I do hysterectomies with a laparoscope, basically single incision incontinence surgeries. We makes three small incisions in the abdomen and take out large uteruses as large as full term pregnancies through the scopes now. It’s amazing what we’re able to do that’s minimally invasive surgical procedures through the laparoscope. I would say 99% of the hysterectomies that we do now are through the laparoscope and don’t have to have open incisions anymore for those. So that’s rewarding to be able to bring those new surgical techniques in.

How did you get started in this career?

I can’t remember when I didn’t want to be a doctor when I grew up. I always wanted to be a physician. And early in my career, I had a mentor who had a small family practice physician in my town and went to our church.  He knew that I was interested and I went over and worked with him in the clinics in the summers and on the weekends and different things like that. And he piqued my interest and then I decided that’s what I wanted to do.  So I dedicated my collegiate studies to that and then was accepted to med school.  I didn’t know exactly what specialty I wanted to do then. I thought I probably wanted to do family medicine and deliver babies and do all the other things. But when I got into med school and went into my rotations and obstetric and gynecology I knew then that’s really where I wanted to go.

It’s happy, as I told you before, you’re not dealing with a lot of illness. You’re really dealing with a lot of wellness. And I’m a very happy person a lot of the time. I like joy, I like to laugh, and I like to have fun and this is the profession that really deals with all of that as opposed to a lot of physicians dealing with death, dying, morbidity, and mortality all the time.  That was not my cup of tea.

What do you like about what you do?

The joy of it and sharing with families one of the greatest events of their lives.

What do you dislike about it?

The long hours. It takes me away from my family more than I would like it to.

How do you make money and how are you compensated in this job?

We’re basically fee for service. We provide a service and the patients pay the fee for it. Now most of it is through their insurance, and we have contracts different insurance companies, Medicaid, etc.

How much money do you make as an OB/GYN?

I would say median income for an obstetrician gynecologist in the United States is about $280,000.  But those are the guys that don’t work very much.  So I would  probably say median income is about $280,000 or so but there’s years I made over $700,000.

How much money do you make starting out in this career?

Well we’ll be paying our new partner $480,000.  The hospital is paying his salary the first year to bring him in.  It’s a guaranteed salary of $240,000 plus whatever he produces out of that he’ll be able to keep. So probably about $400,000+.

What education or skills are needed to do this job?

You need a college degree and a doctorate of medicine afterwards. Four years of college and then an additional four years of med school and then four years of residency training, depending upon your specialty. Ours is four years. And then if you do a subspecialty, high-risk obstetrics is another three years and then reproductive endocrinology, another two years.  Urogynecology is another two years. GYN, cancer, and oncology is another three years. But the thing that I think is important is you better make straight A’s in college to get into med school. You need to be an A-student and that really is one of the more difficult parts of the whole deal is getting into medical school. You’ve got to push it in college to keep your grade point very high and score well on the MCAT to get into medical school. So it kind of starts early making sure that you’re making yourself a center of excellence in your life because after that you’ve got to do the same.  There’s continued education and practice. You need to be excellent in your practice.

As far as skills, I think it takes a fair amount of manual dexterity. There’s times when you need to be pretty doggone strong and these days I think it takes a fair amount of good hand-eye coordination and ability to work with and being able to see on the monitors what you’re doing. You have to be good at video games kind of. Your hands have to do what your eyes are telling them what to do without touching it. I do robotic surgery as well so we’re literally out of the patient working on a console in 3-D looking in a pelvis and operating.

What would you say is the most challenging about what you do?

Again, the hours. It’s not at all uncommon to have a 100-hour work week. And then second to that is liability. We live in a society that pretty much expects perfection and 3% of babies are born with a natural birth defect that we have no ability to diagnose prior to delivery.  Because you’re dealing with unborn human life, you don’t know a lot of times what’s on the other side when they’re born. That’s one of the more stressful things when you talk about doctors doing obstetrics. The stress of the liability and lawsuits is significant.

What would you consider most rewarding about this job?

The shared experience with the family at the time of birth. It doesn’t get much more rewarding than that. That’s one. The second is now, being able to do surgery in a minimally invasive way where the recovery is very short and the pain is markedly diminished, by doing that it’s a new paradigm.  When most people think of surgery they think of a big knife making a large incision and a lot of pain. And now we don’t do that. We take care of their problems with very little pain, very little downtime. And that to me is very rewarding to be able to stay on top of that technical curve with gynecologic surgery and being able to provide that to my patients.

What advice would you offer someone considering this career?

If you don’t mind working hard it is probably one of the most rewarding careers in medicine and one of the most rewarding specialties in medicine.

How much time off do you get or take in a year?

A lot. I work hard and I play hard. But I don’t play hard until my work’s done. I have a lot of partners and now that I am getting up in age a little bit taking more time off to travel with my family. I’m coaching football teams and basketball teams and really enjoying those extracurricular activities. So I’m taking a little more time off. In a year probably average 8 weeks off.

What is a common misconception people have about what you do?

That I make a million bucks a year because you don’t. Uncle Sam gets a lot of it.

That’s the common misconception about obstetricians probably and also the misconception about physicians. And a lot of physicians really don’t make that much in today’s world. A lot of physicians are employed physicians etc. A lot of people who are physicians are people who have worked hard to get where they are, and I don’t really begrudge them if they do make good money because most physicians are over $150,000 in debt when they get out of school.

And so you have to pay that off and when you’re starting out, it takes a lot of time. So you’ve already deferred your wage making capabilities until you’re 30-years-old, 32, before you’re really out and going. And all of a sudden you’re trying to play catch-up and paying off these huge loans. So many of us really don’t have much disposable income until your early 40s.  So there’s always a delayed gratification that you have to be in medicine because you have to work hard in college to get to through medical school and to get a good residency.

I’ve had friends who got jobs right out of college who were successful and retired by their mid 40’s.  At that point I was just getting ramped up.  So I think people don’t quite understand what we go through to get there.

What are your goals and dreams for the future in this career?

Continue to push the envelope on minimally invasive surgery procedures. To dedicate more of my time to indigent care and doing medical mission trips.

What else would you like people to know about what you do?

It’s fun. What I do is fun. It has its hazards. There’s risk associated with it, but the joy that we get with it is immeasurable.  It truly is. Literally, just recently I had a patient who had a very difficult first delivery. The baby was born with an extremely rare lethal abnormality.  And when the baby was born, nobody would have had an idea that this would happen. There’s nothing you could pick up on and so they were devastated with the first delivery.  We worked through and got them through a second pregnancy, and we found out this baby did not have this problem.  And getting them through that delivery was extremely, extremely gratifying.  To work with them through the worst day of their lives, through a long process of years and then to enjoy then the best day of their lives.

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Jitendra August 4, 2014 at 1:46 am

Hi i am Jeet, my wife is an Ob/Gyn in south africa, she has almost 18yrs of experience in this field & still working..we love USA & recently looking at the possibility to move…what would you suggest she will earn there considering her experience.

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Aarione July 1, 2014 at 11:03 pm

Hi, this was very helpful information that was so motivating. It really inspired me to get on my grind and study hard and continue to make excellent grades. By the way I am a junior in high school and I had this passion to pursue this career but the older I got , my vision began to get blury but this really got me back focused. My only question was what kind of things can I do to get involved with my career, for example like seminars, workshops or things like job shadowing while I’m only 16?

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Taylor Mcallister June 20, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Hello! This was so helpful so first, thank you! I’m a sophomore in college and my initial major was biology because that’s the basic pre-med major. I LOVE science but unfortunately am not to good at it. I heard you could practically major in anything in college as long as you have good grades, but I feel like you don’t major in a science than you won’t be prepared for you MCAT. What was your major? Also I fear that after becoming an OB/GYN I’ll be uncomfortable during my own pregnancies along the road because I’ll know everything that’s going on shah it kind of freaks me out. I don’t want to be giving birth and know exactly what to do; I kind of want it to all be a big miracle to me! Have you had kids yet and if so how was it being an OB/GYN? Thanks!!

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Jenny March 28, 2014 at 10:14 am

Hi, I’m a sophomore in high school. I recently wanted to study for this once I learned about it in my biology class. What I was wondering was would it matter if I got to a University or Community college to be a obstetrician gynecologist?

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Tajhshai Hinton May 3, 2014 at 8:45 am

you would have to go to a 4 year college which is a university now if you are not 100 precent sure you want to an obgyn then go to community college so you won’t waste money

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Hasset February 5, 2014 at 7:17 am

Hi, my name is Hasset. I always wanted to be a doctor ever since I was five years old but when I was about 11 years old, I learned what OB’s are and decided that that was what I wanted to be when I grow up. I am in seventh grade now. That info was really helpful. The only thing I worry about is the amount of hours. I know I want to have a family one day. Preferably a big one…and now I realize how much of my time will be at work…I know that being a doctor is going to be a lot of work and I am ready to take on that kind of task. I just pray that I can actually make it though collage and med school, it sounds tough…

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ada June 1, 2014 at 10:59 am

Hi my name is Ada. I understand you, Hasset. I want to be an OBGYN too and have a big family. I think the best thing you can do is have partners who are really reliable. If you want to spend some time with your family, some people can take over for you temporarily. And also, I was thinking, if you have a pretty good salary, you can have a husband that doesn’t work that much to take care of your kids so they won’t be lonely. Me and my friend want to become OBGYNs together too, and when we make it, we will rely on each other. You are not alone on this one.

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heather October 29, 2013 at 9:11 am

hey, my name is heather rush and i live in fontana Ca. I was just wondering if you can give me some advice on becomeing an ob/gyn. Its always been a life long dream of mine. Im currently still enrolled in high school my graduation date is 2015. If you have any personal or job related advice please send me an e-mail I’m still kind of unclear of how to proceed this career, thanks for your time.

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HOSA October 14, 2013 at 11:47 pm

I’m a senior in high school, and for many years I’ve been pondering about going into OB/GYN. I wanted to participate in these so-called miracles, and I enjoy seeing others get better. However, in the last two years, I’ve learned a little more than I thought. The financials risks–the high rate of malpractice lawsuits…I heard that it can be so bad, that a few (if not many) Ob/Gyns quit their profession. I want to have a family one day, and I want to share my life with them (not just as a passerby). In all honesty, despite the brutality it may come with, do you Ob/Gyns truly believe that this profession is worth it? Regardless of how harsh it may be, I’d rather hear what reality will throw at me than figuring it out when I’m a doctor.

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caroline April 22, 2013 at 5:38 pm

I was so nervous reading other article how so many are on debt and they are not able to graduate school, but i know that it will all pay off.

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Jaelyn April 22, 2013 at 11:13 am

I’m a high school student and that information was extremely helpful. My only question would have to be, How do you manage everything?

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Alex Vara April 2, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Do you believe that all the years of schooling and amount of debt was worth it?
Do you deal with having to preform surgeries on babies?
What was your bachelors degree in before medical school?

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Jamie March 12, 2013 at 3:38 pm

This was really helpful! Thank you for taking the time to do this interview and write it.

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Lizbeth February 11, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Im in 8 grade and I really hope we can all accomplish our goal to be ob-gyn’s, its really nice hearing about a lot of people wanting to be what you want to be when you grow up ! Well guys may God bless ya’ll with that.

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bridgette February 11, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Im a sophomore in high school and i really wanna be a ob/gyn. I almost have straight A’s but i wanna know easier ways to study for my classes b/c they are weighing me down. Im a hard worker but what do i do?

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Mary Williams January 23, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Hi, my name is Mary Williams, I’m a junior in high school and i’m interested in becoming a OB/GYN when i grow up. I’m searching for colleges that will suit me best. Do you have any places in mind?

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kaitlyn February 22, 2013 at 10:36 am

i think you should look at the ucfs

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Christaje January 2, 2013 at 1:58 pm

I was thinking of becoming an obstetrician but I don’t want to be a gynecologist and check on non-pregnant women. Is it possible for me to become an obstetrician and not a gynecologist?

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Diana January 6, 2013 at 12:37 am

Yes, it is possible to be an OB without being a GYN as well. It’s just that the fields deal with similar things and work hand-in-hand so well that most physicians just choose to combine both practices. I also have a question for anyone else reading this. I’m extremely passionate about this field and a junior in highschool. I’ve started looking at colleges and was wondering how much the college that you attend for your first four years affects your chances on getting into a medical program. If you go to a fairly good university and get straight A’s throughout your four years, does it make that much of a difference if you go to a better university and have straight A’s? I’d imagine it doesn’t make too big of a difference, especially if you score well on the MCAT. I’m just trying to inform myself, especially just in case going to a less renown university makes it harder to get into med school. Any information would be much appreciated! Thanks!

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S.G January 1, 2013 at 4:05 pm

I am a senior in high school and I always wanted to be an OB as I am applying to college I am researching more about the profession and this helped to convince me that an OB is the what i truly would like to become

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aaliyah December 28, 2012 at 12:48 pm

hello i am in 6th grade and i have been whanting to be an OB since i was in 3rd grade and i am so excited to become one and for all thet have read this message keep your head up and try your best in everything you do!

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Daisha December 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Reading this article was very helpful im glad I read it . Being an OB/GYN is a very hard task . I think im ready to face the long hours.Im going to try my best in College so I can attend Med School .

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Mona November 27, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Hi, My name is Tykeyma and I am in sixth grade and becoming an OB/GYN is a dream I want to accomplish.

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Imani November 19, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Hello, I am in the 7th grade. I’m here writing this because I really want to become an OB/GYN. I have been looking forward to this for a few years now. If I ever become an OB/GYN I would be so glad. I know how many years you have to go to college (8) and if its going to help me become an OB/GYN, I am really looking forward to it. I live in Arizona and I was wondering if NAU is a good college to become an OB/GYN? If anyone could respond to this comment, do you know of any good high school’s I could attend that have classes I can take in the medical field?

I just wanted to say that if you have a dream go for it, keep your head held high and one day you can and will accomplish your dream. Work hard,play hard.

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Rachel Cypret November 13, 2012 at 9:27 am

Hi, am a freshman in high school and i have chose that obstetrician/gynecology is what i would like to do. However i need to find out what type of skills, like what i need to be able to do.

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Blessing October 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm

I really appreciate this testimony a lot. It has most importantly shed some more light to some questions i have had. I am very grateful, and I hope I get to meet you someday.
-Blesing

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Brianna October 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Hi I am in 10th grade and am normally an A student, last year i went through some stuff and got like a C and 2 B’a and the rest were A’s and -A’s , right now I have all -A’s and A’s, if I keep up with A’s and -A’s and do pretty good on the SAT’s and the ACT do you think I have a good chance of getting into a good university? Do med schools want just straight A’s or do they accept straight A’s and -A’s for college grades?

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chante October 24, 2012 at 7:46 am

yes you have a good chance. I’m a junior in high school and doing a little bit better with my grades and I plan on going to JSU….you have a good chance just keep your head up…

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Chante' May 16, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Hey my name is Chante’ to and I want to be
a OB/GYN also. And im a jr. In high school.
#sisters :)

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Alexandria October 22, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Hey guys! I’m in the beginning of 8th grade, and it has been my DREAM to be an OB/GYN since i was in the 4th grade. I have straight A’s in every single one of my class, and hope that i will one day be an AMAZING OB/GYN that people will want to come to me! Grey’s Anatomy’s Addison Montgomery-Shepard is my inspiration! This article gave me a lot of good information that i can use, thank you to the author of this article!!! I know that i have the strength to become an OB/GYN doctor and i hope that others will continue to have the same strength and detication as me!! hope that you all are rooting for me!!

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Angel October 19, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Hi, my name is Angel I’m a junior in high school. This report was really helpful. I want to become an OB I find this job extremely interesting. My high school years aren’t so good, my grades aren’t the best I rarely get A’s. Now that I’m actually trying to improve it got difficult, I believe I can make it even tough others laugh once I say this. Because my friends know I haven’t taken high school seriously, but now I Realize. I’m almost done with high school, Collage its soon to come, wish me luck so I can improve and become someone in this life. Someone as an OB, I hope god grants me this dream.

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gladys October 19, 2012 at 7:39 pm

I plan as well to become an OBGYN doctor . I am currently an undergraduate student at Cal State Los Angeles. I plan to achieve this goal by graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Science and applying to a medical school !

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Kaila September 30, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Hi, I’m Kaila. Being an OB is a big dream of mine. I hope I can accopmlish it!!

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Tinkaa September 18, 2012 at 8:46 am

hi, my name is TyQuerri im in the 9th grade and i am VERY instered in being an OB/GYN , it has been my dream since i was in the 3rd grade , once i have learned a lot about the job thanks to this article and im glad she/he expalined the good and the bad that comes with being a OB/GYN and i BELIEVE that im ready to take on my responabilites !

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Tinkaa September 18, 2012 at 8:46 am

hi, my name is TyQuerri im in the 9th grade and i am VERY instered in being an OB/GYN , it has been my dream since i was in the 3rd grade , once i have learned a lot about the job thanks to this article and im glad she/he expalined the good and the bad that comes with being a OB/GYN and i BELIEVE that im ready to take on my responabilites !

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Raylin Davis September 12, 2012 at 9:34 am

I am a senior in high school and I am currently applying for college. I want to be an OB/GYN. This article was extremely helpful and intuitive. I am glad I had the chance to read it. It just helped me realized my endeavors for becoming an OB/GYN. Thank you. I would love to hear more about this job.

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Brad June 11, 2012 at 4:44 pm

My name is Brad. I am a first year medical student, my dad is an OBgyn and has created an empire from the ground up, and I plan on one day taking over.

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Ranajah October 26, 2011 at 11:09 am

Hi, I always knew when I grow up I waned to be a OB/GYN. I have straight A’s,and about 2 B’s. I have all the information for being a OB/GYN.I know how many years to go to college(8),And I know my average salary. I just need to know MORE of my responsibilities! Can you help me?

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ELEXIS October 23, 2011 at 8:16 pm

HELLO! I’M A SIXTH GRADER WHO WAS INTERESTED IN OBSTETRICIAN/GYNECOLOGIST WORK. I AM ON YOUR WEBSITE GETTING MORE RESEARCH FOR MY DREAM JOB PAPER FOR MY CAREER PATH AND PLANNING CLASS. WELL BESIDES BEING A BUSINESS EXECUTIVE, I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO BE AN OB/GYN. I MAKE STRAIGHT A’S AND SOMETIMES A B (OR 2). I HOPE TO BE WHERE YOU ARE AND CHANGE LIVES SOMEDAY!

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Brittany Godfrey October 10, 2011 at 10:10 am

Hello fellow readers, i am Brittany , im in 8th grade and i make straight a’s and b’s. i am so dreaming about becoming an obgyn doctor. i will attend a college in the state. i am so excited to go into the medical feild and learn all about pregnancy, labor & dilevery, and the after birth process. i cant wait to start learning.

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Ashley September 24, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Hi my namee is ashley , im a senior in highschool . I want.to study hard and become an ob doctor . I work really hard to get straight A’s on my progress book because I attend to a tech school where I study the basic of the nursing field to get my STNA’S but I tend to always get A s and Bs is there something I can.do so when I get to my college years I can hace straight A’s??

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gladys October 19, 2012 at 7:38 pm

You can make sure you get high scores on the SAT so you can be admitted to a four year university whereas a community school. You must earn your Bachelor Degree before applying to a med School.

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