Are you generalizing "OB" as L&D, PostPartum and/or Nursery? If you are referring to L&D specifically, I have to say that I very STRONGLY recommend getting at least a year or 2 of Med Surg first. Here's why: There are no nursing schools that I am aware of that really adequately prepares their students with the time management, organization and critical thinking skills that L&D requires. I know this from my own personal experience and from a situation that I observed over the past few weeks.
From my own experience: I have been an RN for 15 years. Two years ago, I FINALLY landed my dream job in L&D, which I really and truly love. My work history prior to L&D since graduation: 5 years acute adult med-surg, 1.5 years NM in LTC, 1.5 years DON in LTC, 2 years part time Nursing Supervisor in LTC and part time caseworker in Home health ( had small children/newborn at home), then 4 years Adult Med Surg/Tele/Ortho as a travel RN, in which you can and will be expected to hit the floor running, with little or no orientation.
So, all in all, I walked into this wonderful job with 13 pretty solid years of experience in many different areas. I had wonderful recommendations from supervisors and coworkers alike about how excellent and organized I am, yadda, yadda. So what happened? Well, I did fine....I'm still here. But in the beginning, my head literally SWAM with all the new info I was trying to learn and absorb and try to put into practice. I cried...several times. I questioned myself as to what the heck I thought I was getting myself into. And I had all the basics....how to stay on top of things, how to be organized, I've had 4 children, I've read from cover to cover every OB textbook I've ever laid my hands on. But real life OB is a whole new ball game! It was a long time b4 I could go to work without some sense of anxiety about what might happen. I still ask questions and consult with the more experienced nurses I work with. I still self examine and think about how I could've/would've/should've done this or that differentally. There are still so many things that I have not yet experienced and can only pray that I can handle them when they happen.
The situation that I observed: We had an RN start orientation in the middle of August. She came to us with about 1.5 years experience in a sub acute rehab unit. There were rumblings on the unit that she was basically a new grad as far as skills went...IV's, foley's, vag. exams, time management, organization, critical thinking etc. Last week, during a C section, she completely fell apart and the next day, relinquished her position, b/c by her own admission, she needs MORE experience. I feel so badly for this girl b/c I know she tried so hard, but even tho she had "experience" and wasn't technically a new grad, she lacked the experience that she needed. I hope that she gets her experience and comes back b/c she will be excellent!
I really honestly believe that having a year or two in Med Surg can make all the difference in survival in L&D. On my unit, we do have RN's who have only ever done OB, but they started 20-30 years ago, when I think things were much different. The newer girls have all had other experiences before starting, and we have one RN, who came to L &D from Postpartum (as a new grad) and went back to PP to gain more experience. And then came back, and she IS WONDERFUL!
L&D is just so fast paced and changing all the time....it's very hard to explain how things can be status quo one minute and fall apart the next. In my opinion, you really have to have your head in the game and a handle on things from one moment to the next, and be able to deal with whatever life throws at you next...you can't be struggling with throwing in the IV or the foley or what to do when the baby is not breathing....Med Surg is what gives you those skills, and is really and truly necessary! Speaking for myself, I know that I never would have made it this far, without my years elsewhere!
Sorry so long!