Obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) nurses specialize in caring for both pregnant and non-pregnant women. Obstetrics focuses primarily on patients who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or recently delivered a baby, whereas gynecology is concerned with women's reproductive health, including the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases. There are several subspecialties within OB/GYN nursing, including gynecology, labor and delivery, perinatal, and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). OB/GYN nurses work closely with physicians, nurse practitioners, and other medical professionals to deliver attentive care to female patients.
The numbers above come from the 2010 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which detail the current and future employment of registered nurses, including OB/GYN nurses. The BLS does not currently have employment figures for obstetrics/gynecology nurses. The specific duties of OB/GYN nurses vary based on one's position, location, training, and education. In general, OB/GYN nurses are responsible for the following:
- Provide prenatal, perinatal, and postpartum care and testing for patients and their babies
- Administer medications and treatments to patients in obstetrics or gynecology
- Take patients' vital signs, record medical histories, and symptoms
- Assist physicians during gynecological exams, surgeries, and other office procedures
OB/GYN nurses are highly skilled and well trained caregivers. Their specialized knowledge and caring bedside manners are crucial to the overall safety and well-being of patients. Registered nurses make up the largest percentage of health care professionals, and OB/GYN nurses represent a decent portion of this occupation. According to the BLS registered nurses will continue to be in high demand as the population increases and people continue to live longer.Read More
Job Growth for
Becoming an Obstetrics/Gynecology Nurse
The first step in becoming an obstetrics/gynecology nurse is completing the necessary education requirements, beginning with an associate or bachelor's degree in nursing or diploma in nursing. During nursing school, students will take a variety of science and procedural courses that focus on the daily tasks of inserting IVs, changing dressings, administering medication, providing caring bedside manner, and more. Clinical practicums in obstetrics, surgery, pediatrics, gerontology, and other specialties are conducted throughout the program to help students find their best area of practice.
To get into the obstetrics/gynecology nursing field, graduates will most likely need a year or two of nursing experience under their belt. Depending on your desired position and employer, some nurses may have to take additional courses in obstetrics/gynecology topics or complete certain clinical practicums to be considered for obstetrics/gynecology nurse jobs. Recent graduates and those who are new to the field will receive on-the-job training and work closely with experienced OB/GYN nurses. Here are a few common courses students can expect to take while in nursing school:
- Foundational Concepts of Nursing Practice
- Mental Health Nursing
- Nursing Care of the Childbearing Family
Most OB/GYN nurses are licensed registered nurses, which means they have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) before they can legally practice. Your state's board of nursing will evaluate your test scores and other state-specific licensing requirements before awarding a license. To maintain an active nursing license in most states, continuing education is required or strongly encouraged.