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.
Gastroenterology nurses may assist surgeons, gastroenterologists, other physicians, and nutritionists with the following procedures and duties:
Gastroenterology and endoscopy nurses tend to find employment in the following settings wherever gastro patients are seen:
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.
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).
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.
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:
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.
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.