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Choosing Your Medical Specialty: Obstetrics & Gynecology [Podcast]

By Courtney Marie L.

Published November 21, 2022 • 3 Min Read

A day in the life of the obstetrics & gynecology specialty is never ever the same. Join the Specialty Café host Emily Wu as she speaks to Dr. Gillian MacMullin, FRCSC, a community Obstetrics & Gynecology specialist in Cape Breton, NS. Dr. MacMullin shares not only on what an OBGYN does… but about the realities, challenges, and joys of being personally and professionally known in your community. Spoiler Alert – practising in a community is mostly joyful and truly fulfilling. A huge bonus is the ability to tailor so many aspects of this practice to what works for you – and what really interests you. And…apparently babies are rarely born during office hours, so be prepared for some overnight shifts!

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Specialty snapshot

Obstetrics/gynecology is a specialty that encompasses medical, surgical, and obstetrical and gynecologic knowledge and skills for the prevention, diagnosis and management of a broad range of conditions affecting women’s general and reproductive health. It is (as the name suggests) a combination of two specialties: obstetrics, which provides care during pregnancy, labour and puerperium; and gynecology, which focuses on the health of the female reproductive system. Obstetrician/gynecologists usually work in private offices, hospitals or academic health centres.

To become certified in obstetrics/ gynecology, it requires 5 years of Royal College-approved residency training upon completion of medical school, and that includes:

  • 1 year of basic clinical training in obstetrics/gynecology; internal medicine; general surgery; emergency medicine/critical care medicine; psychiatry; palliative medicine; neonatal-perinatal medicine; obstetrics/gynecology ambulatory clinics; anesthesia; and sexual medicine/pelvic pain
  • 1 year core experience in obstetrics/gynecology as a senior resident minimum of 9 months of subspecialty experience in maternal/fetal medicine, gynecological reproductive endocrinology & infertility, gynecological oncology;
  • 1 year rotations in 4 of the following: ambulatory obstetrics/gynecology; community-based
  • obstetrics/gynecology; endoscopic surgery, gynecological pathology; colposcopy; critical care medicine; gynecological oncology; gynecological urology; maternal/fetal medicine; obstetric/gynecology ultrasound; pelvic pain investigation and management; research in obstetrics/gynecology; reproductive endocrinology & infertility; and sexual medicine;
  • 3 month elective in areas listed above;
  • 1 year Chief residency experience in obstetrics/gynecology.


Specialty Café / Café des spécialités is produced by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the podcast does not receive funding or other support from RBC Healthcare. This Podcast is promoted by Royal Bank of Canada with the permission of the Royal College. © The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, 2022. All rights reserved.

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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