Day in the Life of a Resident & Core Attributes: Obstetrics & Gynaecology

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Obs & Gynae requires emotionally mature and resilient physicians who are great communicators. Here we’ll take a look through a typical day for a PGY1 resident in ob/gyn, and then consider some core attributes that are vital to success in the field.

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Day in the Life of an Obstetrics & Gynaecology Resident

5:00am: Wake up. Expect early starts as an ob/gyn resident – you’ll need to be at the hospital by 5.50am or so (before 6am).

0600: In the hospital, with your scrubs on. You’ll need to find your co-resident who’s been covering nights, to find out which patients require some form of attention. Expect to be assigned a handful of postpartum patients at this point. You’ll need to check on each individually, taking a brief history, checking notes and monitoring/vitals, or conducting a brief examination as is appropriate in each case. Remember that you essentially have two patients for each case here – you need to ensure that both the mother and baby have done well overnight. After this initial rounding, you’ll be able to return to the residents’ office and begin your notes.

0630: Morning sign out. You should already be prepared for this through your earlier rounding, but expect to receive core information from the night team, and note down further notes on any patients who are in labor. After sign out, you’ll team up with the senior resident and check the log to see what’s scheduled for the day.

0800: Scheduled procedures and seeing patients. You’ll be responsible for assessing patients independently even as a PGY1, especially for routine, scheduled procedures. Expect to conduct ultrasounds, take histories, and cover ideas, concerns and expectations with mothers. Indeed, some programs will even have interns taking on primary c-sections – a real level of responsibility which requires a mature approach.

1200: Lunch. Expect to have some teaching or education over lunch, although this might also happen in the mornings before seniors are present. Lunch education could be in the form of a journal article club, conference, or simply the presentation of interesting cases. No matter how education is conducted, learning actively alongside your fellow residents is the best way to ensure that you remain on top of the material that you will need to cover. You may also have assigned readings that you need to present to the group, along with your learnings from those readings. The degree of involvement from seniors depends on the program – lunchtime learning sessions will likely benefit from more involvement compared to a morning education session.

1300: Afternoon tasks. The afternoon is made up of routine tasks that ensure the continued operation of the department. That might mean checking on patients in labour, or increasing the monitoring for a particular case. It will likely also mean a significant amount of admin – writing up notes, calling others in the team, chasing up results, speaking to patients about their care and plans, etc.

1700: The night team arrives, allowing you to sign out. You should have clear and efficient notes from the day, allowing you to hand over quickly. Equally, you should have completed the days’ tasks to the best of your ability – extra work in the afternoon might mean a little less stress for the incoming night team, something that you will be glad of when it’s your turn on nights. After sign out, you can scrub out and leave.

1800: Relaxation and learning. Ob /gyn is relatively less taxing compared to some residencies, so you will have some free time. It’s therefore vital that you make use of this to keep up with learning, as well as developing relationships with others working alongside you.

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Core Attributes of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Residents

OB/gyn requires great communication skills and emotional maturity. A mother – be she expectant or postpartum – will need someone who can communicate with them clearly, empathetically, and confidently. You must reflect on how you fit with this set of attributes, and ensure that you are ready to discuss them at interview. Teamwork, as with any specialty, is vital – and this too will need to be demonstrated at interview and through your personal experiences.

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