Whether you are a new nurse looking for a specialty to start your career with or you’re a veteran nurse thinking of switching specialties, you should consider becoming a gastroenterology nurse. Despite what most people think, the job is one of the most interesting specialties you can work in.
What Is A Gastroenterology Nurse?
As a GI nurse, you’ll be handling patients who have disorders and illnesses involving their gastrointestinal tract. You’ll be assisting physicians in conducting procedures, providing education, and administering treatments.
You may also be required to with x-ray technology and computerized topography to aid in your patients’ diagnosis.
Some of the most common health issues you need to be familiar with are:
- Crohn’s disease
- Food allergies
- Celiac disease
- Acid reflux
- Cancers of the digestive tract
Becoming a Gastroenterology Nurse
If you are interested in this specialty, the first thing you need to do is to get a nursing degree from either a 2-year or 4-year university. After that, you’ll need to take and pass the NCLEX-RN.
Once you have your license, you need to work as a registered nurse for 2 years in a gastroenterology department. After getting enough experience, you can take the Certified Gastroenterology Specialty Nurse Exam. It’s offered by the American Board of Certification for Gastroenterology Nurses.
To qualify, you have to meet the following requirements:
- You need to have worked as an RN for at least 2 years before taking the exam
- You have to be employed in an administrative, educational, clinical or supervisory role for at least 2 years
- You need to be able to submit the contact information of 2 practitioners who can verify your qualifications and work experience
- You have to prove that you have an unrestricted RN license
Where Can You Work?
You can work either in a hospital or clinical setting since you’ll be working most of the time with gastroenterology professionals. You also have the option to work in home care settings with nutritionists or in surgery centers and long-term care facilities.
To find more work opportunities, it’s best to join organizations related to your field. In addition to that, being a member of those organizations can also help keep you updated with the latest changes in your profession. It’s a good way to find support as well.
You can consider joining the following:
- American College of Gastroenterology
- Society of Gastrointestinal Nurses and Associates
- American Board of Certification for Gastroenterology Nurses
As part of your work, you’ll be responsible for:
- Assisting with colonoscopy and endoscopy
- Educating patients about the required changes in their diet for maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal tract
- Providing pre- and post-procedure education to the patients
- Administering and monitoring medications
- Working with other members of the healthcare team to ensure that every patient’s needs are provided and met
- Ensure a safe environment for the patient
How Much Does A GI Nurse Earn?
The answer to that question will depend on a lot of factors. Your years of experience and the area you’re working in are just some of the things that can increase or decrease the salary you get in a month.
On average, however, gastroenterology nurses earn about $90,639 a year.
The Pros and Cons of the Job
One of the most challenging parts of the job is providing comfort to your patients’ family members. It can be emotionally and mentally draining.
The variety of experiences that you have on a daily basis, however, is good for your career. They’ll enable you to use your critical thinking skills every day.
Additionally, there’s the joy of getting share really good news with patients. There’s also the happiness you’ll get from working with a team of nurses who have the same goal as you.