PAs: Obstetrics and Gynecology Needs You!
PAs Work in all Primary Care, Specialty, and Subspecialty Areas
By Melissa Rodriguez, DMSc, PA-C
Melissa Rodriguez, DMSc, PA-C, president of the Association of Physician Assistants in OB-GYN, responds to questions regarding PA practice in obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN).
Q: Do PAs practice in OB-GYN?
A: Yes, we do—currently, fewer than 2% of all PAs practice in the field of OB-GYN and its subspecialties. PAs also practice women’s health in other specialties such as family medicine.
Q: Are PAs adequately trained to practice in OB-GYN?
A: Absolutely! PA training provides a generalist foundation for their students, which includes mandatory training in obstetrics and gynecology. PA students take more than 75 hours in pharmacology, 175 hours in behavioral sciences, more than 400 hours in basic sciences, and 580 hours in clinical medicine. Training specific to OB-GYN includes hours of didactic training in benign and complex topics of women’s health; clinical lab experience with live models, simulation, and breast and pelvic trainers; and on average, 162 hours of hands-on clinical experience during the women’s health rotation. Most clinical rotation sites provide opportunities to participate in vaginal deliveries, cesarean sections, and gynecological surgeries. Understandably, there is a shortage in OB-GYN rotation sites which means that not all experiences are complete. The need for PAs in OB-GYN has exacerbated this lack of preceptors for PA students, and the competition with medical students and nursing students is intense.