Gastroenterology Nurse

What Is a Gastroenterology Nurse?

Gastroenterology nurses, also known as endoscopy nurses, provide care for patients with known or suspected medical issues in their gastrointestinal tracts and digestive systems. These nurses also play an integral role in the assessment, planning, and implementation of both endoscopic and upper gastrointestinal procedures. They also work with x-ray technology and computerized tomography scans to diagnose and monitor patients, and work hard to keep patients and their loved ones informed regarding their condition and any related treatments. Gastroenterology nurses commonly deal with disorders like Crohn's disease, Celiac disease, ulcers, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), acid reflux, and others.

What Are Some Gastroenterology Nurse Duties?

Gastroenterology nurses may assist surgeons, gastroenterologists, other physicians, and nutritionists with the following procedures and duties:

  • Assist with the administration, maintenance, and monitoring of conscious sedation
  • Carry out pre and post-procedure patient education
  • Assist with colonoscopy/endoscopy procedures
  • Inform patients on changes that should be made to diet in order to maintain a healthy GI tract
  • Prepare instruments, equipment, and other supplies for procedures
  • Sterilize all equipment prior to procedures
  • Make sure patients are stable and lucid before discharging them
  • Educate patients on various medications
  • Ensure a clean and safe hospital environment during procedures

Where Do Gastroenterology Nurses Work?

Gastroenterology and endoscopy nurses tend to find employment in the following settings wherever gastro patients are seen:

  • Surgery centers specializing in GI-related issues
  • Hospitals
  • Private clinics
  • Long-term care centers

How to Become a Gastroenterology Nurse

Individuals who are thinking about pursuing a career as a gastroenterology nurse should have a strong interest in helping patients and their loved ones feel comfortable while they undergo difficult and uncomfortable procedures. They should also be comfortable working within multidisciplinary teams and with technical and invasive medical equipment. Upon graduating with a nursing degree and becoming a licensed RN, gastroenterology nurses should gain experience in some kind of nursing environment where conscious sedating drugs are used.

Step 1: Educational Requirements

Like many other nursing specialties, to begin a career as a gastroenterology nurse you must first finish an accredited ADN or BSN degree program at a college or university. After this has been completed, you must then pass the NCLEX-RN licensing exam and become licensed as a registered nurse (RN). After gaining some clinical experience in the field, preferably in medical-surgical nursing, you can opt to become a Certified Gastroenterology Registered Nurse (CGRN) through The American Board of Certification for Gastroenterology Nurses (ABCGN).

Do Gastroenterology Nurses Need an RN Degree?

Gastroenterology or endoscopy nurses are registered nurses (RNs) with special training to work within an endoscopy unit of a hospital or other healthcare institution where procedures using an endoscope are used. An endoscopy is a diagnostic procedure which uses a small camera, called an endoscope, which is inserted inside of a patient while they are under sedation. Due to this specialized training, gastroenterology nurses will need to hold, at minimum, an ADN or BSN degree, with a BSN usually preferred.

Step 2: Required Gastroenterology Nurse Certifications/Credentials

Although many employers may prefer it, formal certification isn't always necessary for some positions as a gastroenterology nurse. The certification process is conducted via the American Board of Certification for Gastroenterology Nurses (ABCGN), where students can officially become Certified Gastroenterology Registered Nurses (CGRNs). To gain the CGRN certification you will need to have fulfilled the following requirements:

  • Hold a current, unencumbered RN license
  • A minimum of two years or 4,000 hours of full-time employment experience in the gastroenterology specialty during the five years prior to sitting for the certification exam
  • Provide the contact information of two colleagues/gastroenterology practitioners who can verify your qualifications, abilities, and experience

Gastroenterology Jobs, Salary & Employment

Because gastrointestinal issues are some of the most commonly experienced medical problems, the gastroenterology nursing field isn't going anywhere anytime soon. A career in this nurse specialty is one of the steadiest in the nursing field.

Job Description & Information

  • Essential Skills Needed - Extensive knowledge of the pathology of the gastrointestinal system, strong interpersonal communication abilities, empathy, case management skills, ability to work well in teams, physical assessment and screening skills, knowledge of commonly used medical technical devices
  • Job Outlook - The United States BLS has estimated that employment growth for RNs will increase by 16% between 2014 and 2024. The rate of job growth for gastroenterology nurses is likely to be at or above this same level.

What Is the Average Salary of a Gastroenterology Nurse?

According to PayScale, gastroenterology nurses make an average annual salary of about $70,100. This number will depend greatly on factors such as the city and state of employment, years of clinical experience, education levels and credentials (CGRN nurses usually enjoy higher salaries), and the employing organization. The same factors will contribute to the kinds of benefit packages received by gastroenterology nurses. However, gastroenterology nurses will generally enjoy benefits such as medical, dental, vision, and prescription insurance coverage, in addition to some paid time off each year.

How Much Do Gastroenterology Nurses Make per Year?

  • $56,000 – $100,000 annually

How Much Do Gastroenterology Nurses Make per Hour?

  • $30.93 average hourly wage

Gastroenterology Nurse Resources