Makng the switch from inpatient ob to ob/gyn clinic


*reposting from the ambulatory nursing thread because I realized it's probably more relevant here*

I just had an interview for an RN position at an ob/gyn clinic that's part of a local large hospital system. I've been interested in doing outpatient nursing ever since I got out of nursing school, but I've been working in inpatient antepartum/mother-baby for the past 3 years in order to get myself some solid experience first. I've loved the inpatient world so far but I feel ready to make the switch.

I'm really excited about this opportunity, but at this clinic I'd be the only RN, which makes me nervous! I expressed this to the interviewer and she assured me that they were specifically looking for someone who had current inpatient experience, and they would tailor the orientation to acclimate me to the new setting. I'm so used to having 3-4 other RNs on with me on the unit. Feels like a ton of pressure to be the only nurse!

Also, my experience with gyn is limited to a small population of post-op gyn patients at my first job, so I'm worried I'd be a deer in the headlights when it comes to gyn patients in the clinic...

I'd love to hear experinces/advice from people who made the transition from inpatient ob to the outpatient ob/gyn. Did you feel prepared after your inpatient experience or was it like learning from scratch?

klone, MSN, RN

14,490 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 17 years experience.

Four years ago I went from inpatient OB to an OB/Gyn clinic. I LOVED my time in outpatient care. I learned SO much! Not only being able to see the entire spectrum of pregnancy and what all happens, but I also learned a TON about gyn. It was an amazing experience (I worked outpatient for 3 1/2 years before going back to inpatient) and I would not trade it for a moment.

Good luck to you! Feel free to ask any questions, I'm happy to discuss it!


41 Posts

That's great to hear that you loved it! How did you find the transition to be? Was there a big learning curve adjusting to the outpatient setting or did you find that your inpatient experience really prepared you?

I'm a little worried that I'd be going into it with not much knowledge/experience w/ gyn pts, was that hard for you? It sounds like you were able to learn a lot about gyn and I'm excited about that!

What were some things you found especially challenging about the clinic setting?

Also, can I be nosy and ask why you ended up going back to inpatient?


klone, MSN, RN

14,490 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 17 years experience.

I don't remember that the learning curve was HUGE, but I did have to relearn certain lab values, immunization schedules, the pap algorithm. I learned a lot about the different classifications of abnormal cervical cancer screening, more than I ever wanted to know about STIs and treatment, and learned SOOOOO much about contraception. I learned the skill of taking a rock-star medical and obstetrical history (before I was promoted to a larger clinic, I did all the new OB intakes, including taking a history and doing a lot of patient teaching).

Challenges of the clinic setting...hmmm...trying to keep all the providers on schedule, I would say. Everything needs to run like clockwork to have an efficient clinic that runs on time. Not sure what the scope of your role will be, but I was the charge nurse/supervisor, so I was responsible for making sure everything was happening in a timely manner.

I went back into inpatient because I was offered a great opportunity to manage an inpatient OB unit, and I was missing L&D. If I hadn't taken the job I have now, I would have stayed in ambulatory, because I really did LOVE the job.

One AWESOME thing about outpatient is the hours - home by 5:30 every night, NO nights, NO weekends, NO holidays.


41 Posts

Thanks so much for telling me about your experience! Really helpful. I go in for my interview tomorrow!


12 Posts

Specializes in OB/GYN. Has 30 years experience.

I worked several years in outpatient OB/GYN. If you like teaching patients you will do great. First learn all you can about normal GYN care and then the most common problems your clinic sees and build from there. It will come quickly and is a really rewarding area.

I did a lot of work with patients with endometriosis and interstitial cystitis and issues with chronic pain. Chronic pain patients can quickly get negative labels but helping them get a diagnosis and treatment literally changes lives. I've seen people so angry, pushed from ER to ER, Dr to Dr and labeled drug seeking get proper treatment then go on to get jobs and have fulfilling lives. Listening without judgement helps, remember many of these people are expecting rejection and disappointment if they've been on the pain merry-go-round too long and may present with lots of anger.

Keeping the whole thing running on time is always a balancing act but you will never be bored.