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Gastroenterology Nursing

dianah dianah, ADN (Admin)

Specializes in Cath Lab/Radiology. Has 46 years experience.

What is the role of the Gastroenterology nurse?

Nursing's holistic approach, rather than the medical model, offers a wealth of advantages to patients with gastrointestinal (GI) issues, in the setting of Gastroenterology Nursing. Gastroenterology Nursing covers procedures as well as all things GI-related from GERD to ulcers and colon cancer detection.

Gastroenterology Nursing

Gastroenterology (GI) Nurses specialize in gastrointestinal issues and diseases of the stomach, esophagus, and bowel. The GI Nurse must possess excellent communication skills, the ability to perform rapid patient assessments, and have good hand-eye coordination skills.

Depending on the practice, patients of all ages may be seen and treated for a variety of GI issues.

GI Disorders (not all-inclusive)

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Diverticulosis
  • Constipation
  • Chron's Disease
  • GI conditions related to stress and depression
  • Food Allergies
  • Rectal bleeding

Practice Settings

  • Hospital GI lab
  • Out-patient clinic
  • Research areas/facilities
  • Industry vendors
    • Equipment company
    • Pharmacological company
  • Private office
  • Free-standing clinic

Duties

  • Assist during endoscopic procedures
  • Provide pre- and post-op care
  • Administer conscious sedation
  • Monitor and recover patients
  • Patient follow-up; track procedures to include patient satisfaction and outcome
  • Patient and family education regarding treatment and management options

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

Procedures

  • Endoscopies, including treatments for gastric ulcers and duodenal ulcers
  • Colonoscopies
  • Foreign body removal
  • ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography)
  • Gastrostomy tube placement
  • Various treatments for cirrhosis and portal hypertension
    • Sclerotherapy
    • Banding
    • Glue injections
  • Esophageal or duodenal stricture dilation
  • Endoscopic polypectomies
  • Esophageal stenting

Advanced Practice Nurses (APRN) such as Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) and Nurse Practitioners (NP) may work in the area of Gastroenterology, specializing in research and the management of patients with GI and/or liver diseases.

Some NP's have received rigorous education and training in order to perform colonoscopies.

Education

  • Graduate from an accredited school of nursing
  • Successfully pass the NCLEX-RN
  • Possess a current, unencumbered Registered Nurse (RN) license in the U.S. state of practice

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

Professional Organizations and Resources

American Board of Certification for Gastroenterology Nurses (ABCGN) - "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".

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

The Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (SGNA) is, "a professional organization of nurses and associates dedicated to the safe and effective practice of gastroenterology and endoscopy nursing". Gastroenterology Nursing is the official journal of the SGNA.

The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) provides comprehensive material for Physicians as well as patient-centered resources.

Certifications

American Board of Certification for Gastroenterology Nurses (ABCGN)

The ABCGN offers the Certified Gastroenterology Registered Nurse (CGRN) certification and re-certification examinations. This credential is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC).

Eligibility (not all-inclusive)

  • Employment in clinical, supervisory, administrative, teaching/education or research capacities; minimum 2 years full-time or its part-time equivalent of 4000 hours, within the past 5 years in GI/endoscopy
  • Work experience must be as an RN (I.e., an LPN who has become an RN must have two years experience as an RN prior to sitting for the CGRN designation regardless of the number of years of GI experience as an LPN.)
  • Full-time industry nurses whose focus is at least 40% clinical practice, education, or research are eligible; focus in sales is not accepted
  • Current/unencumbered RN license in the U.S.

Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) is usually required if the GI Nurse is administering conscious sedation.

The American Heart Association (AHA) offers ACLS courses for healthcare professionals managing cardiovascular emergencies during specialty procedures.

Salary (2020)

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual pay for a Gastroenterology Nurse in the U.S. is $106,624 per year with salaries currently ranging between $80,000 to $120,000 across the U.S.

ZipRecruiter also lists the average Gastroenterology NP salary by each U.S. state.

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. The highest areas of growth are projected to be private physician's offices and clinics.

CA girl, born in Hawaii, raised in Northern CA, live in So. Cal last 35 yr

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1 Comment(s)

Chickenlady, ADN

Specializes in ER, GI, Occ Health. Has 7 years experience.

Lots of overlap into PACU nursing and circulating.  I've enjoyed GI nursing.