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Gynaecologist/​Obstetrician

Kaimātai Take Wahine/​Whakawhānau Tamaiti

Alternative titles for this job

Gynaecologists/obstetricians advise, diagnose and treat issues with the female reproductive system, and provide medical care for women before, during and after pregnancy.

Pay

Graduate gynaecologists/obstetricians usually earn

$70K-$175K per year

Senior gynaecologists/obstetricians usually earn

$152K-$217K per year

Source: Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, 2017.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a gynaecologist/obstetrician are good due to a shortage of workers.

Pay

Pay varies for gynaecologists/obstetricians depending on seniority, hours, location, and frequency of on-call or emergency cover.

  • House officers and registrars (in training programmes) working for a district health board (DHB) usually earn between $70,000 and $175,000 a year.
  • Qualified gynaecologists/obstetricians working for a DHB can earn between $152,000 and $217,000 a year.
  • Gynaecologists/obstetricians working in the private sector are usually self-employed and can earn more than this. Those at the top level can earn $600,000 a year.

Source: Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, May 2017.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Gynaecologists/obstetricians may do some or all of the following:

  • identify and treat problems of the female reproductive system, such as menstrual disorders, abnormal bleeding, miscarrages, infertility and cysts
  • check and provide treatment for cancer of the female reproductive system
  • examine and prepare treatment plans for pregnant women, particularly women with known health conditions such as asthma
  • deliver babies and check the post-delivery progress of mothers
  • discuss and prescribe contraceptive options
  • perform surgery when necessary
  • consult with other medical professionals about patient care and treatment
  • keep medical records and send final reports to general practitioners
  • teach medical students and trainee gynaecologists/obstetricians
  • carry out research.

Skills and knowledge

Gynaecologists/obstetricians need to have knowledge of:

  • anatomy, with in-depth knowledge about pregnancy and the female reproductive system
  • how to perform surgery
  • different diseases and illnesses
  • how to diagonse problems effectively
  • new research, treatments, technology and medical practices
  • medical ethics and law.

Working conditions

Gynaecologists/obstetricians:

  • may work long and irregular hours, including evenings, nights and weekends
  • work in hospitals, clinics, consulting rooms and operating theatres
  • work in conditions that may be stressful, as they may deal with medical emergencies
  • travel locally and overseas to conferences and meetings.

What's the job really like?

Premjit Gill.

Premjit Gill

Senior House Officer, Obstetrics and Gynaecology

How do you deal with the sensitive nature of your work?

"Communication and support is key, as you do get some very sensitive cases coming through.

"One lady had been through a forced circumcision when she was a child in Africa. She came into the clinic pregnant and very emotional, as she could not give birth naturally. I talked to her and got to know her and made her feel more at ease.

"We were able to reverse the procedure, which made her so happy. She went back feeling a lot better once she knew she was in a supportive environment."

How do you handle the heavy workload?

"You have to know when to take time out. It can be stressful, but if you know what you are getting yourself into, I think you can deal with it a lot better.

"Sometimes it can be hard to make a commitment outside of work. You can’t really just tell someone giving birth, ‘I’ve got to go, bye!' However, we have a good amount of leave as well – that gives you a bit of relief.

"And it’s a wonderful feeling to be involved in pregnancy and the birthing process."

Entry requirements

To become a gynaecologist/obstetrician you need to:

  • complete the Health Sciences First Year programme at Otago University, or the first year of either the Bachelor of Health Sciences or Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science at Auckland University
  • complete a five-year Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree at Otago or Auckland University
  • work for two years as a house officer (supervised junior doctor) in a hospital
  • complete another six years as a registrar with specialist training and passing examinations to become a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

You also need to be registered with the Medical Council of New Zealand.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.

Secondary education

NCEA Level 3 is required to enter tertiary training. Useful subjects include maths, chemistry, physics, health, biology and English.

Personal requirements

Gynaecologists/obstetricians need to be:

  • interested in women's health
  • able to work well under pressure and remain calm in emergencies 
  • able to make good decisions, and solve problems
  • good at managing time
  • good at working in a team
  • understanding and good at listening
  • good at report writing 
  • skilled at communicating and inspiring confidence in others 
  • understanding of other cultures' attitudes to medical treatment.

In this job you have to be able to prioritise and make decisions. For example, if two patients need a Caesarean, which one goes to the theatre first?

Sarah Wadsworth

Gynaecologist/Obstetrician

Useful experience

Useful experience for gynaecologists/obstetricians includes:

  • work in hospitals or other health-related work, such as in clinics
  • work caring for people.

Registration

Gynaecologists/obstetricians need to be registered with the Medical Council of New Zealand.

Find out more about training

Health Careers
www.healthcareers.org.nz
Medical Council of New Zealand
0800 286 801 - www.mcnz.org.nz
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG)
(04) 472 4608 - ranzcog@ranzcog.org.nz - www.ranzcog.edu.au
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Number of factors contribute to shortage of gynaecologists/obstetricians

There is a shortage of gynaecologists/obstetricians due to:

  • New Zealand's growing population
  • many doctors prefer to live in the main cities, leading to shortages in rural areas
  • an ageing workforce – nearly a third of specialist doctors, including gynaecologists/obstetricians, are over 55 years old and due to retire in the next 10 years
  • a worldwide shortage of specialist doctors, which means that it can be hard for New Zealand to attract gynaecologists/obstetricians to work here
  • the long training period of 14 years to become a fully qualified gynaecologist/obstetrician.

Gynaecologist/obstetrician appears on Immigration New Zealand's long-term skill shortage list. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled gynaecologists/obstetricians from overseas to work in New Zealand.

Gynaecologists/obstetricians work for public and private hospitals

Gynaecologists/obstetricians work in public or private hospitals, or a combination of both, and may also work in university medical schools.

  • District health boards employ all the gynaecologists/obstetricians who work in public hospitals.
  • Private hospitals usually employ gynaecologists/obstetricians on a casual basis.
  • The medical schools at the Universities of Auckland and Otago employ gynaecologists/obstetricians in teaching and research roles.

Sources

  • Immigration New Zealand, 'Long Term Skill Shortage List', 19 February 2018, (www.immigration.govt.nz).
  • Jakes, C, practise manager, Naylin Appanna women's health clinic, Careers New Zealand interview, April 2017.
  • Kaveney, J, training coordinator, The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Careers New Zealand interview, May 2017.
  • Medical Council of New Zealand, 'The New Zealand Medical Workforce 2013-2014', accessed April 2017, (www.mcnz.org.nz).
  • Medical Council of New Zealand, 'The New Zealand Medical Workforce 2012', accessed April 2017, (www.mcnz.org.nz).
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Gynaecologists/obstetricians may progress to teach students and trainee gynaecologists/obstetricians at larger hospitals. They can also become senior consultants with responsibility for gynaecological/obstetric departments.

Gynaecologists/obstetricians may move into specialist areas such as:

  • gynaecological oncology (focusing on treating women who have cancers of the reproductive organs)
  • high-risk pregnancies
  • urogynaecology (the diagnosis and treatment of incontinence in women)
  • fertility.
Premjit Gill takes the blood pressure of a patient.

Gynaecologists/obstetricians treat issues related to the female reproductive system

Last updated 7 February 2019