How to Become an OBGYN Nurse: Education and Career Roadmap

Dec 04, 2019

Learn how to become an OBGYN nurse with this summary of the education, training and licensing requirements that need to be completed for this important career.

OBGYN Nurse Job Description

What is an OBGYN nurse? Quite simply, they are registered nurses (RNs) who deal specifically with women's health and reproduction. OBGYN is an abbreviation of obstetrics (pregnancy) and gynecology (female reproductive health). While OBGYN nurses carry out many of the same tasks as other RNs, such as administering medications and recording medical histories, they are also tasked with performing unique duties specific to their field. These activities typically include assisting with the delivery of babies and informing patients about appropriate birth control methods.

OBGYN nurses usually work in hospitals, medical centers or in private doctor's offices. They generally work full-time but may have irregular hours due to the shift work nature of this type of profession.

Key Requirements

Degree Level Associate's or bachelor's degree or diploma
Degree Field Nursing
Licensure National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN)
Experience Minimum of 24 months and 2000 hours OBGYN nursing experience to be eligible for core nursing certifications **
Additional Requirements Additional licensing requirements, such as continuing education, vary by state
Median OBGYN Nurse Salary (2018) $71,730 (RNs)*
Job Growth (2018-2028) 12% (RNs)*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **National Certification Corporation

Becoming an OBGYN Nurse in 4 Steps

Step 1: Get a Nursing Degree

In order to become an OBGYN nurse, candidates must first train to become an RN. Aspiring RNs have three main educational options open to them once they have graduated from high school. They can complete an associate's degree in nursing (ADN), a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) or, less commonly, a nursing diploma program. Approved ADN and BSN programs are offered by higher education institutes, whereas diploma programs are administered and hosted by hospitals and medical centers. All three of these pathways will adequately prepare students for the licensing exam and entry-level nursing positions, and will cover topics such as the following:

  • Physiology
  • Anatomy
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition
  • Chemistry

Students may even be able to take a practicum in OBGYN nursing with some of these programs. A practicum such as this will be able to give aspiring OBGYN nurses foundational practical experience in newborn care and female reproductive healthcare. Additionally, OBGYN nursing hopefuls may even be able to ahead in their subject area by taking OBGYN classes online.

The ADN and diploma programs can take as little as 18 months to two years to complete, whereas a BSN program covers considerably more ground in terms of hands-on training and typically takes four years to complete. Due to the increased training and experience, RNs who hold a BSN will have an advantage when applying for more advanced nursing roles. With this in mind, ADN holders can transfer credits to a BSN program as a means of furthering their career options.

Step 2: Get a Nursing License

Once a prospective OBGYN nurse has secured an approved RN qualification, they become eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). All aspiring registered nurses must pass this six-hour exam so that they can apply for a nursing license from their state Board of Nursing. The exam tests candidates' in general entry-level nursing subject areas such as care management and preventative treatments. Depending on the state, there may be other licensing requirements, such as obtaining a criminal background check.

Step 3: Gain OBGYN Nursing Work Experience

The process of OBGYN nursing certification requires candidates to have accrued at least two years of relevant work experience. Given this, it is important for OBGYN nursing hopefuls to get some experience caring for patients in an OBGYN environment. This experience may include working in a maternity ward or inpatient obstetrics.

Step 4: Get Certified

Obtaining certification in OBGYN-related nursing subjects can be a boon to an RNs career in OBGYN nursing. The National Certification Corporation offers certification in areas including inpatient obstetric nursing, maternal newborn nursing, neonatal intensive nurse practice and low risk neonatal nursing. The certifications are valid for three years and can be maintained by way of undertaking the required continuing education and/or re-examination. The certification exams consist of up to 175 questions and the computer exam fees are $325 (includes the $50 application fee). The in-person examination fee is $275.

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