Gynecology addresses the health of the female reproductive system, so gynecologists perform examinations, diagnose conditions and diseases and offer treatments for patients. Types of conditions treated by gynecologists include gynecological diseases, pregnancy and fertility and professionals may also work with patients diagnosed with cancer, urine incontinence or problems with the pelvic organs. While being a gynecologist can be both profitable and rewarding, these professionals must still overcome disadvantages related to gynecological careers.
One advantage to being a gynecologist is the opportunity to specialize in a particular area, providing different challenges in your career should you become ready to try something new. Some gynecologists specialize in obstetrics, providing care for pregnant women before and after giving birth. Others may specialize in gynecological cancer or fertility challenges.
Another advantage to becoming a gynecologist is the possibility of strong job prospects. Employment for gynecologists is projected to grow by 18 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is faster than average compared with other professions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, gynecologists can choose from a variety of job locations including hospitals, clinics, health organizations or their own private practice.
Gynecologists earn higher salaries than many professions, making this an advantage for this career option. According to a Medscape survey ob ob/gyns, the median income of a gynecologist in 2012 was $242,000. About 25 percent of ob/gyns take home $300,000 or more while 10 percent or so earn $100,000 or less, Medscape says.
Gynecologists must spend significant amounts of time and money completing education and training requirements before entering the field. This can be considered a disadvantage, since you may accumulate steep student debt loads and defer salary earnings because of extended schooling requirements. After completing a four-year undergraduate degree, gynecologists must earn a doctor of medicine degree. You'll also complete a four-year gynecological residency program, including a one-year internship. Preparation for a specialty (such as those described above) may include an additional three years of residency training. Gynecologists must earn a license by completing required academic and internship hours and pass a state-issued content mastery exam. After becoming licensed, gynecologists continue with professional development requirements by completing additional courses or attending trainings.
Like many jobs in the medical field, working as a gynecologist involves some level of stress. Patients and their families rely on you to make accurate, informed decisions and there will be instances when you'll need to act quickly and knowledgably in emergency medical situations. At times, you may need to share difficult news (such as a cancer diagnosis or information about a pregnancy complication) with patients and their families. Depending on job type and medical condition, you may be called upon to perform services at odd hours, such as weekends or late at night.
Culturally, male gynecologists may face jokes or questions from other people regarding their career choice. Female patients may express discomfort about being examined by a male gynecologist. This disadvantage may be overcome by always exhibiting professionalism about gynecology and directly addressing questions and concerns patients may have.