Donald School Journal of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology

Register      Login

VOLUME 15 , ISSUE 4 ( October-December, 2021 ) > List of Articles


Satisfaction and Shortfall of OB-GYN Physicians and Radiologists

Christiane Herber-Valdez, Sanja Kupesic-Plavsic

Keywords : Anxiety, Mental distress, Obstetrics-Gynaecology, Physicians, Radiologists, Shortfall, Ultrasound

Citation Information : Herber-Valdez C, Kupesic-Plavsic S. Satisfaction and Shortfall of OB-GYN Physicians and Radiologists. Donald School J Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 2021; 15 (4):387-392.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10009-1822

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 31-12-2021

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2021; The Author(s).


Ultrasound is pivotal to the practice of obstetrics-gynecology (OB-GYN). In the US, physicians who perform ultrasound are facing the unprecedented need for their services and skills. OB-GYNs, in particular, have been challenged to meet rising demands in women's healthcare, as a result of an increasing female population, while the supply of physicians is not keeping pace. The ACOG projects current shortages will continue to grow to a deficit of up to 22,000 OB-GYNs by 2050. The future of the OB-GYN workforce is compromised by an aging OB-GYN population, insufficient OB-GYN residency positions, and a decreasing number of young physicians choosing to specialize in OB-GYN. As a consequence of mismatched supply and demand, practicing OB-GYNs are experiencing alarming rates of medical burnout, jeopardizing their mental health and wellness. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated risks to mental health; however, OB-GYNs have reported higher levels of burnout compared to other specialties, both before and after the pandemic. This article examines the threats to OB-GYN's central role in the provision of OB-GYN ultrasound, including factors contributing to insufficient growth of the OB-GYN workforce, and the resulting impacts on practicing OB-GYNs’ job satisfaction and overall well-being. Data on medical burnout affecting OB-GYNs, both before and after the COVID-19 pandemic, is presented along with a comparison of job satisfaction and wellness data collected from OB-GYNs and radiologists–the two groups of specialists performing female pelvic and OB ultrasound exams in the US. Understanding the factors that discourage medical graduates from entering into OB-GYN residencies is critical, not only for recruitment but for the development of strategies to support currently practicing OB-GYNs. Prevention of medical burn-out among OB-GYNs will be essential to keep OB-GYNs practicing through retirement age while attracting others to the specialty. The creation of rewarding work environments, which allow for a healthy work-life balance, will be essential to meeting the demand for specialized women's health and reproductive care. Protecting the well-being of those practicing now, will be instrumental to the development of a sufficient OB-GYN workforce, and ensure its central role in the provision of OB-GYN ultrasound.

  1. Marsa, L. Labor pains: The OB-GYN shortage. 2018. Available from: [cited 15.06.21].
  2. Rosenberg J. Physician shortage likely to impact OB/GYN workforce in coming years. Am J Manag Care 2019. Available from: [cited 15.06.21].
  3. Why OB-GYNs are Burning 2019. Available from: [cited 15.06.21].
  4. Martin KL, Koval ML. Obstetrician & gynecologist lifestyle, happiness & burnout report 2021. Available from: [cited 10.05.21].
  5. Kaushik D. Medical burnout: breaking bad. Available from: [cited 10.05.21].
  6. Leonardi M, Murji A, D'Souza R. Ultrasound curricula in obstetrics and gynecology training programs: obstetrics and gynecology ultrasound training. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol 2017. Available from: Available from: DOI: 10.1002/uog.18978
  7. Educational Objectives: Core Curriculum in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 10th ed. Washington, DC, USA: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 2013.
  8. AIUM-ACR-ACOG-SMFM-SRU Practice parameter for the performance of standard diagnostic obstetric ultrasound examinations. J Ultrasound Med 2018;37(11):E13–E24. DOI: 10.1002/jum.14831
  9. Practice parameter for the performance of ultrasound of the female pelvis. 2013:301–498. Available from: [cited 18.05.21].
  10. Salvesen KA, Lees C, Tutschek B. Basic European ultrasound training in obstetrics and gynecology: where are we and where do we go from here? 2010:525–529.
  11. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Certification in Obstetrical and Gynaecological Ultrasound Training Program 2017. 2017. Available from: [cited 18.05.21].
  12. European Society of Radiology (ESR). Position statement and best practice recommendations on the imaging use of ultrasound from the European Society of Radiology ultrasound subcommittee. Insights Imaging 2020;11(1):115. DOI: 10.1186/s13244-020-00919-x
  13. Practice guideline for the performance of the standard diagnostic obstetrical ultrasound Available from: [cited 18.05.2021].
  14. Practice guideline for the performance of ultrasound of the female pelvis. 2019. Available from: [cited 18.05.21].
  15. Obstetric ultrasound examination (Position Paper) Available from: [cited 18.05.21].
  16. Tong STC, Makaroff LA, Xierali IM, et al. Proportion of family physicians providing maternity care continues to decline. J Am Board Fam Med 2012;25(3):270–271. DOI: 10.3122/jabfm.2012.03.110256
  17. Wilson SP, Connolly K, Lahham S, et al. Point-of-care ultrasound versus radiology department pelvic ultrasound on emergency department length of stay. World J Emerg Med 2016;7(3):178–182. DOI: 10.5847/wjem.j.1920-8642.2016.03.003
  18. Collins K, Collins C, Kothari A. Point-of-care ultrasound in obstetrics. Australas J Ultrasound Med 2019;22(1):32–39. DOI: 10.1002/ajum. 12133
  19. Holmlund S, Ntaganira J, Edvardsson K, et al. Health professionals’ experiences and views on obstetric ultrasound in Rwanda: a cross-sectional study. PLoS One 2018;13(12):e0208387. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0208387
  20. Kullgren JT, McLaughlin CG, Mitra N, et al. Nonfinancial barriers and access to care for US adults. Health Serv Res 2012;47(1pt2):462–485. DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2011.01308.x
  21. The complexities of physician supply and demand: projections from 2018 to 2033. Association of American Medical Colleges 2020. Available from:
  22. Nation's OB-GYNs Meet in Washington to Bridge the Gap in Women's Health. Available from: [cited 10.06.21].
  23. New research finds growing U.S. physician shortage hits maternity care. Available from: [cited 18.05.21].
  24. Phelan ST, Wetzel LM. Maternal death in rural America. Available from: [cited 10.06.21].
  25. Orvos JM. ACOG Releases new study on OB/GYN workforce. Available from: [cited 18.05.21].
  26. 2018 OB-GYN Workforce study: looming physician shortages: a growing women's health crisis. 201. Available from: [cited 15.06.21].
  27. Guardado JR. Policy research perspectives: medical liability claim frequency among U.S. physicians. Available from: [cited 10.06.21].
  28. Hutchinson-Colas J, Brug P, Patel NM. Job satisfaction amongst OB/GYN and surgical residents at an academic center. Obstet Gynecol 2016;128(1):47S–47S. DOI: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000502689.53932.7e
  29. Kirzinger A, Kearney A, Hamel L, et al. KFF/the Washington Post Frontline Health Care Workers Survey – toll of the 2021. Available from: [cited 18.05.21].
  30. Peckam C. Ob/Gyn Lifestyle Report 2016: bias and burnout. 2016. Available from: [cited 18.05.21].
  31. Lubell J. Women physicians and the pandemic: a snapshot. 2021. Available from: [cited 18.05.21].
  32. Harolds JA, Parikh JR, Bluth EI, et al. Burnout of radiologists: frequency, risk factors, and remedies: a report of the ACR commission on human resources. J Am Coll Radiol 2016;13(4):411–416. DOI: 10.1016/j.jacr.2015.11.003
  33. Palsson O, Ballou S, Gray S. The U.S. National Pandemic Emotional Impact Report. 2020. Available from: [cited 18.05.21].
PDF Share
PDF Share

© Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) LTD.