Gastroenterology Nursing

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    Another, and possibly little-known, specialty area utilizing nurses is that of Gastroenterology. Nursing's holistic approach, rather than the medical model, offers a wealth of advantages to patients with GI or liver issues, in the setting of Gastroenterology Nursing.

    Gastroenterology Nursing

    Another, and possibly little-known, specialty area utilizing nurses is that of Gastroenterology. The role of Gastroenterology Nurses continues to expand: RNs may work with patients directly or indirectly in
    • The "GI Lab" assisting with endoscopic procedures: administering moderate sedation and monitoring/recovering patients; possibly assisting with the procedure;
    • Research areas
    • Industry vendors (equipment and pharmacological companies)
    • Private office/clinic setting

    Good communication skills, a strong nursing knowledge base with a honed eye for rapid patient assessment, precise documentation skills and good hand-eye coordination are essential. RN's may assist with Care Management duties, performing patient follow-up care and tracking procedures as well as patient satisfaction and outcomes.

    Becoming familiar with equipment and techniques used in the GI Lab, as well as cleaning, maintaining and disinfecting of the equipment, may also be part of essential duties and responsibilities.

    Procedures the RN may assist with include:
    • Endoscopies, including treatments for gastric ulcers and duodenal ulcers
    • Colonoscopies
    • Foreign body removal
    • ERCPs (endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography)
    • Gastrostomy tube placement
    • Various treatments for cirrhosis and portal hypertension (sclerotherapy, banding, glue injections)
    • Esophageal or duodenal stricture dilations
    • Endoscopic polypectomies
    • Esophageal stenting

    Practice Settings

    RN's may work in a hospital or outpatient clinic/office setting, assisting with moderate sedation for GI endoscopic procedures, educating patients pre- and post-procedure and even assisting MD's with the procedure itself. Depending on the practice, patients of all ages may be seen and treated for a variety of ailments.

    RN's may perform a large part of specific patient and family education about various GI conditions, treatment and management options. Others may work as Clinical Nurse Specialists, performing patient assessments and patient follow-up care and education.
    Some RN's opt to work for equipment companies/vendors.

    Nurse Practitioners may work in the area of Gastroenterology, specializing in managing patients with GI or Liver diseases. Some NP's have passed rigorous training to perform colonoscopies.


    RNs may be hired in as Gastroenterology Nurses after a year or two of Medical/Surgical, ED or ICU nursing. Some departments may hire new graduates; most prefer some prior nursing job experience.


    ACLS usually required if administering moderate sedation. After at least two years of working in the area of Gastroenterology, studying prescribed core curriculum and meeting other specific requirements, RN's may take the exam for CGSN: Certified Gastroenterology Specialty Nurse.


    Average salary (depending on location) can be $50,000 per year.
    As the field of Gastroenterology develops new procedures and techniques, married to technology advances, the need for experienced RN's is expected to increase, making for a favorable job market. Highest area of growth is projected to be private physician's offices and clinics.

    Professional Organizations

    American Board of Certification for Gastroenterology Nurses - "Its purpose is to maintain and improve the knowledge, understanding and skill of nurses in the fields of gastroenterology and gastroenterology endoscopy by developing and administering a certification program"

    UK: Gastrointestinal Nursing

    Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates, Inc.

    American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

    American Gastroenterological Association - "Advancing the Science and Practice of Gastroenterology"

    Gastroentelogy Nursing Journal

    Specialist nurses in gastroenterology - Article about a recent trend in the UK to empower RN's to become specialist nurses in gastroenterology (and other areas)
    Last edit by Joe V on Nov 29, '13
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