OBGYN Nurse Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

About this article
An OBGYN nurse's mean annual salary is around $70,000, but is it worth the education and licensing requirements? Read real job descriptions and see the truth about career prospects to decide if becoming an OBGYN nurse is right for you.
View available schools

Pros and Cons of an OBGYN Nursing Career

An obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) nurse specializes in treating pregnant women and issues revolving around female reproductive organs. Read the pros and cons below to determine if becoming an OBGYN nurse is the right choice for you.

Pros of Being an OBGYN Nurse
Faster than average employment growth (19% increase from 2012-2022)*
Well-paying (mean yearly salary about $70,000)*
Part-time work is possible (20% worked part-time in 2010)*
Helping women with health issues can be rewarding*

Cons of Being an OBGYN Nurse
State licensing is required*
Hospital nursing requires long hours and night work*
At risk for contracting illnesses and becoming injured*
Stressful work environment (especially when lives are at risk)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information

Job Description and Career Specializations

OBGYN nurses can have the same responsibilities as other registered nurses (RNs) in that they prepare patients for procedures and exams, interpret test results, answer questions, administer treatments, monitor reactions and progress, give medications and communicate patient concerns with doctors and other providers. An OBGYN nurse will have specialized goals, however, such as helping physicians bring healthy babies into the world or educating women about the prevention and discovery of breast and cervical cancer.

As an OBGYN nurse, you might work in a private OBGYN practice, in a hospital or at a women's health clinic. At the hospital, you could choose to specialize in gynecological cancer care or tend to pregnant and post-delivery patients and their babies in the labor and delivery unit. Hospital work may entail working long shifts, and highly stressful or emotional situations may arise when treating patients with chronic or terminal illnesses. Nurses are also susceptible to work-related injuries when moving patients and standing for long periods of time.

Job Prospects and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recognizes that due to a shortage of nurses, especially in hospitals, ample opportunities may exist for people who want to work in the nursing profession. However, nursing jobs at private practices and clinics could be competitive because of the more appealing environment and better work hours. The BLS projected a 19% increase in employment of RNs during the 2012-2022 decade, due to extended life-expectancy and diagnostic technology advancements. In May of 2014, the BLS determined that the mean annual wage for all RNs was about $70,000. Those working in hospitals earned a mean wage of $72,000, while those working in physicians' offices earned $64,000.

What Are the Requirements?

Education and Training

To work as a registered nurse, you will need to successfully complete an accredited nursing program offered at a college, university or trade school. Educational options include diplomas, associate's and bachelor's degrees, and you could qualify for RN licensing and entry-level positions by completing any one of these programs.

Associate's degree and diploma programs will take 2-3 years to complete, while a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) could take four years or more to finish. Coursework you may encounter includes anatomy, psychology, microbiology, nutrition and additional social and behavioral sciences. While in a nursing program, you will also be required to practice skills and train in a clinical setting, usually at a hospital. BSN programs may also include topics focusing on critical thinking, leadership and communication and may involve additional non-hospital training.

Licensing Requirements

All states require registered nurses to apply for and obtain a nursing license. In addition to completing an accredited nursing program, you will also need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN). Nursing programs will help you prepare for this exam, and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing states that over 91% of first-time test takers in the first quarter of 2012 received a passing score.

Necessary Skills

OBGYN nurses provide care to patients who might be anxious about having a baby or are facing serious gynecological health problems. Compassion and good people skills are a must, and you need to pay close attention to detail because an ignored symptom or change in behavior could lead to serious life-or-death complications. Other valuable skills and characteristics OBGYN nurses need include:

  • Composure
  • Quick thinking and problem-solving abilities
  • Patience
  • Strong organizational skills

Job Listings from Real Employers

When employers put up job postings, they will usually specify licensing and specific certification requirements they want a candidate to have. Graduation from an accredited nursing program and a valid state license are musts, and many employers prefer nurses with previous OBGYN experience and training. Below are some actual job postings found in April 2012:

  • A healthcare company in Florida is looking for an OBGYN RN who has completed an accredited nursing program and possesses current state licensure. Basic life saving (BLS) certification is required, and a bachelor's degree and oncology certification is preferred. Candidates must have three years of nursing experience and know all applicable regulatory standards.
  • A medical center in Texas wants to hire an OBGYN RN to care for patients who are pregnant or have other women's health issues. Graduation from a nursing diploma, associate's or bachelor's program is required, in addition to state licensure, BLS, neonatal resuscitation (NRP) and S.T.A.B.L.E. (infant care and transport) certification.
  • An OBGYN practice in Indiana is seeking an RN with a state nursing license to assist doctors with treatments and exams, set up patients in exam rooms and communicate test results and other information to patients over the phone. Gynecology and obstetrics experience is required.

Standing out in the Field

While you may be able to find a job with an associate's degree or diploma in nursing, the BLS states that nurses with a BSN are more preferred in the job market. RNs usually find their first job in a hospital setting, and working in a labor and delivery unit can provide you with the OBGYN experience needed to give you an advantage when applying for jobs at clinics or private practices. Joining a professional organization such as the American Nurses Association will help you keep up with new advances in the field of nursing and allow you to network with other nurses at conferences and seminars. The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers certifications that can show employers your dedication to the field.

Many OBGYN nurses decide to pursue an advanced career in practical nursing so they can gain new skills and earn higher salaries. You could work towards becoming a Certified Nurse-Midwife by completing a midwifery graduate program and passing an exam administered by the American Midwifery Certification Board. According to 2012 figures found at Salary.com, the median annual salary for certified nurse midwives was over $92,000.

Alternative Career Options

Licensed Practical (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)

If you desire a career in nursing but are deterred by the education requirements, you should consider becoming an LPN or LVN. The actual job title will depend on the state in which you live, though all states will require you to pass the National Council Licensure Examination before working in the field. These nurses monitor vital signs, record patient information, change dressings, give baths and lend a listening ear while providing comfort. To qualify for licensure, you must complete a LPN or LVN training program at an accredited community college or technical school, which can usually be completed in about a year. The BLS projected a 22% increase in the employment of LPNs and LVNs during the 2010-2020 decade, slightly lower than the 26% for RN careers. The mean annual wage of LPNs and LVNs in 2011 was $42,000, per the BLS.

Physician Assistant (PA)

If you want to provide more hands-on diagnostic care and would like to earn more than an RN, a career as a physician assistant (PA) may appeal to you. PAs take medical histories, perform exams, diagnose illnesses or other problems, administer treatments and write out prescriptions, all under the supervision of a doctor. To become a PA, you'll have to enroll in a specialized training program that generally leads to a master's degree, usually after completing an undergraduate degree program. Licensing is also required in all states, and applicants will need to pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination.

A 30% rate of growth in the employment of physician assistants is expected during the 2010-2020 decade, as seen in predictions from the BLS. The BLS also estimated the average annual salary of PAs in May 2011 at approximately $89,000, significantly higher than OBGYN nurses.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • Master of Science - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
    Master's
      • Accelerated BSN to MSN
      • MS in Nursing
      • Master of Science - DNP Family Nurse Practitioner
      • Master of Science - DNP Adult Nurse Practitioner
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN (RN License Required)
      • Bachelor: Health Science
      • Bachelor: Healthcare Admin
    Certificate
      • Family Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate
      • Nurse Educator Graduate Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    Master's
      • MBA and MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems (Bridge)
      • MBA and MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems (dual degree)
      • MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems
      • M.S. in Nursing: Nursing Education
      • MS in Nursing: Nursing Education
      • MBA: Health Systems Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Nursing (Registered Nurse - R.N. to BSN)
      • BS in Health Care Administration
      • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
      • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
  • Online Programs Available
    3. The University of Texas at Arlington

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Administration
      • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Educaiton
    Bachelor's
      • RN to BSN
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Utica College

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy
    Bachelor's
      • RN to BSN
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Queens University of Charlotte

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Nursing: Undecided
      • Master of Science in Nursing: Nurse Administrator
      • Master of Science in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader
      • Master of Science in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader Certificate
      • Master of Science in Nursing: Nurse Educator
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Regent University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Abilene Christian University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Advanced Practice Nurse
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Executive Nursing Leadership
    Master's
      • MBA - Healthcare Administration
      • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Sacred Heart University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • RN to BSN to Master of Science in Nursing
    Bachelor's
      • RN-BSN - RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • HS Diploma

Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
  • Accelerated BSN to MSN
  • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN (RN License Required)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Grand Canyon University

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • MBA and MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems (Bridge)
  • BS in Nursing (Registered Nurse - R.N. to BSN)

What is your highest level of education?

The University of Texas at Arlington

  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Educaiton
  • RN to BSN

What is your highest level of education completed?

Utica College

  • Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • RN to BSN

What is your highest level of education completed?

Queens University of Charlotte

  • Master of Science in Nursing: Undecided
  • Master of Science in Nursing: Nurse Administrator
  • Master of Science in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader

What is your highest level of education completed?

Regent University

  • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado State University Global

  • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Abilene Christian University

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Advanced Practice Nurse
  • MBA - Healthcare Administration
  • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?