Before I started this rotation, I was slightly nervous and excited. I came into medical school with the hopes of one day becoming an Ob/Gyn. It seemed perfect just having female patients. I mean, how bad could it be? And plus, I would be able to see babies getting delivered either naturally or surgically. What more could I ask for? But I was scared. Because this rotation is known for being overwhelming. So many quizzes, exams, and projects. Not to mention the shifts…12 hours long. 😱 How would I be able to manage that?
Now having finished this, I can say that it looks like Ob/Gyn is probably not the right specialty for me. This was by far the hardest rotation I have gone through. And I thank God that I made it to the end.
I did gynecology for three weeks at the army base near my school and then spent the next three weeks doing mostly OB at the main hospital near my school. I also worked at the resident clinic and at a private office with the clerkship director. There were lots of things to do. At the base, I was seeing patients and helping perform pap smears. I would also get to see some postpartum patients and present them to the attendings. I got to see some surgeries such as laparoscopy and cystoscopy which were pretty cool. I had two 24-hour shifts there which was unfortunate, but they were not too bad since not many pregnant patients come to the base overnight. I got my six hours of sleep. 🎉 At the main hospital, however, it was a lot. I had to come in by 6 am, see some of the postpartum patients, come to morning presentations, round on the patients and do the other tasks at hand. Some days, it could be really chill with no patients coming into triage or any active deliveries. Other times…chaos. I could be in a patient room with a resident talking with a patient about an infection they got and the resident’s phone would ring. Boom, time to go to the OR for an emergency C-section. The residents and I could literally be sitting in the lounge just talking and then a “Code Green” alarm would go off (mother’s in danger) and everyone would run like they are competing in a triathlon. Most days I would leave by 5:30- 6 pm. My legs would hurt from the pain of standing and running around all day like is this what the life of an Ob/Gyn is like? Shoot…I don’t want her. I mean, I got to help out and see cool things such as circumcisions but nah, this was not it! And don’t get me started on nights at the main hospital. I had to be there by 5:30 pm and I would get to leave around 5 am. The first night was extremely rough because everytime I wanted to rest my head to take a nap, the dang phone would ring. I would follow the residents around, talk with patients, and help with speculum exams and ultrasounds. I got to see vaginal deliveries and another C-section. Then I would watch the residents fill out notes or I would help with those as well.
In the resident’s clinic, I got to talk to more patients and do more pap smears. And finally, with the clerkship director, I talked with patients, help with inserting contraceptives and, you guessed it, do more pap smears. Honestly, I am a pap smear pro, I am sure I did about 30 by the end of this rotation. 😭😭😭😭
Everyone I saw were women! 🙌🏾 It was crazy to see how many different cases I saw. I got to see C-sections, vaginal deliveries, surgeries, etc. The first C-section I saw was very very scary, with it resulting in a huge cephalohematoma. I almost passed out and had to leave so I could cry in the restroom. The rest were way better and I got to help with cutting the umbilical cord and the sutures! I prefer vaginal deliveries though because they are more interactive and rewarding to see. Other cases I saw were postpartum pre-eclampsia, seizure disorder, gestational diabetes, pyelonephritis, postpartum hemorrhage, postpartum depression, chorioamnionitis, menorrhea, amenorrhea, endometriosis, cancer, and the list goes on and on. I pretty much saw every topic under Ob/gyn. That was very cool and it really helped with learning.
Whew, this was rough. The rotation’s academic requirements are known to be more challenging than most of the other rotations. Usually, a rotation has weekly exams, sometimes a presentation in the mix, an assignment or an H&P, and maybe a final. But during Ob/gyn orientation when the director mentioned all of the work that we needed to get done, I felt my throat closing up and my heart palpitating. We had 3 group quizzes, 14 online quizzes that we needed to complete on our own time, reflections, a PowerPoint presentation composed of slides, an H&P, a bill statement, and a CASP analysis, and finally, we had to do 54 quizzes on a website called uWise to prepare for our final exam, our final being a mixture of all of those questions from that website. Not to mention, I wanted to do Uworld questions and watch onlinemeded just so that I would not be behind for step 2 (still traumatized for how underprepared I was for step 1). When I tell you, I was DROWNING. I would have to come home from a long shift and either do the quizzes, uWise, prepare for the presentation, or do Uworld or Onlinemeded. I would hyperventilate before going to bed and wake up with a zit and/or the biggest headache. I was soooo over it. So over it. By the grace and mercy of God, I was able to forge through. I legit had to plan out every single day and what tasks I needed to get done. I sacrificed sleep because I knew that I had no choice but to do so.
I think the worst assignment to work on was the PowerPoint presentation. It took forever. I talked about preeclampsia and had to pretty much write down what a research article was talking about which was brutal because who knows what these researchers are talking about ever? I was so relieved after I gave my presentation cause…that was not it. 😩
The final went pretty well, alhamdulillah. I accidentally did the final the day before thinking it was a practice exam so they made me redo it the day of and I did well both times! 😎😎😎🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾 I even got to finish my Uworld questions for Ob/gyn and OME videos. I again just want to thank God for getting me through this. 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
Before I started Ob/gyn, I was scared of the environment. Ob/gyn is known to have a toxic environment and I never understood why? Because aren’t we helping women and delivering babies? Isn’t that a happy thing?
At the base, the environment was ok. It was scary for me to see everyone dressed up in their military uniforms and the level of authority some of the people have there. I also thought that because I am a hijab-wearing Muslim, a lot of them would look at me differently. But no one really treated me like that so that was good and I kind of got used to the uniforms. I appreciated how chill the base was because it allowed me to get a lot of work done. Some of the physicians there were really nice and would try to teach me different things, which was great. I was still scared to present to some because they would come for my neck but for the most part, I did not feel too badly there. The residents were also very nice and would try to help me out. They did look stressed 25/7 ngl and that’s when I slowly started to see that Ob/gyn may not be for me.
My time at the main hospital kind of solidified my decision. The residents I interacted with there were also nice and willing to help. But the environment was tew much. It just felt like a hazing process. It was painful to see a resident get corrected or even admonished by an attending. It was uncomfortable to sometimes watch the nurses and the doctor not get along. The rush of the environment at the main hospital made my head spin. The residents would sometimes leave me, not on purpose, but because there just had to run from one place to another. I felt like I was a dog following its owner. And when I had to go into the OR, I would feel very uncomfortable. The OR is just a different world and sometimes the people in there, such as the scrub tech, were not as nice. When I wanted to go in there, they would tell me that the way I wear my headscarf is not allowed because it was not sterile and if I wanted to participate in surgeries, I would have to wrap it around my head and put a cap on top. That made me very upset. I did end up doing it and I just felt so out of place. I would even have to take my sleeves off to scrub in and I just hated that so much. I understood that I had to do it for patient safety but I just felt like it wasn’t fair. How come there were not any sterile scarfs I could wear and still participate in the surgery? Why did I have to conform in order to participate? On my last day there, I told them I did not want to participate in any C-sections unless I could wear my scarf in the most comfortable way for me. After talking with the head nurse, they said that they could order scarves for anyone who wears them the way I do in the future, and I was truly grateful to hear that🙌🏾
P.S. I found out that I could wear my normal scarf in the OR as the rules recently updated. But of course, I found that out too late 😒
The resident clinic was very nice and I truly appreciated one of the residents with me. She would always introduce me and help me along with way while performing exams on patients. I honestly wish my rotation was solely at that clinic because I felt the most welcome there. The patients for the most part were very welcoming and I prefer seeing patients in the clinic environment more than the hospital environment. Because even though the hospital cases were cool, the patients were usually sicker.
Lastly, my time with the clerkship director was aight. She is a really great teacher but shoot, sis was kinda asking for a lot. The method of teaching I prefer is when someone is near me, guiding me on what to do. Not throwing me into the ocean without me knowing how to swim. I mean, it allowed me to learn quickly but it was so overwhelming. I just get so uncomfortable being on my own and asking patients about touchy subjects and performing their pap smears while making it as painless as possible. It’s tew much! But I am grateful that I got to see and do all these things to know what I hopefully want to do in the future.
Getting to see female patients, working with some nice residents, getting to see my classmates, working with some awesome attendings, getting to see babies being delivered (🥳), and learning the ins and out of diagnosing different disorders in Ob/gyn
Lool I found that image from medschool Reddit and I have to agree. Because girl….where do I begin? This was a lot. The hours were not it. The amount of work we had to do was also not it. Just being uncomfortable all of the time. I thought that because I was being surrounded by the same gender as myself that I would be at ease but just the conversations and tasks I had to do were nerve-wracking. I tend to be modest in most aspects of my life including my dress code and the way I talk so I felt like I had to swallow that on this rotation. It was just way out of my comfort zone.
Surgeries were a second con. Even though surgeries are cool to watch, just being up and close was hard for me. Standing for hours and hours without touching anything was hard. If I wanted to scratch myself, I would get scolded and told to scrub in again which sucks but is understandable. And normally blood does not get to me, but there’s something about being in the OR and seeing that blood that really churns my stomach.
I also realized that mostly anything an Ob/gyn does can cause pain. From inserting implants, to performing pap smears, colposcopies, C-sections etc, they ALL CAUSE PAIN. And that’s a hard pill to swallow.
It was also really difficult to watch women scream out in pain when they were having contractions. I forreal always wanted to cry when I saw that. I think I am too soft for this field lol. 😭😭😭😭
I know I complained a lot but I am truly grateful to have gotten to experience this. I honestly did not know what Ob/gyn was all about. And now I know. It’s about women and their well-being and it’s more complex than many people may think. I appreciate how an Ob/gyn can be a primary provider and also perform surgeries or deliver babies of that same person. I love that continuity of care. But, no one can deny that Ob/gyn is not easy. It takes a special type of person to deal with that. And maybe it might be you (if you are still reading this lol). But I do not think it is me. And it makes me sad to say this because I looked forward to this so much and I was hoping for this rotation to solidify my choice in this specialty. But unfortunately, it’s back to the drawing board for me.
I would rank this a 5/10. I was going to rank it higher but honestly, I got re-triggered as I was writing this and I knew that I did not have the best experience. It was better than psych so that’s good but it’s not good enough for me.
And that’s it, everyone. I hope I didn’t scare anyone. I am just so glad that in third year you can figure out what you like and do not like. Learning about something through textbooks is one thing, but seeing it in real time is a whole different experience. Be on the lookout for my next blog, I hope you all have a great rest of your week!