Gastroenterologists or GI physicians specialize in treating diseases and ailments of the digestive system. He diagnoses and treats disorders related to the esophagus, stomach, intestines, gallbladder, liver and pancreas.
Gastroenterologists diagnose diseases of the GI tract and administer treatment for the patients. Gastroenterologists work with nurses, physicians, specialists, medical technologists, medical personnel and administrative staff daily.
The work hours are long, and most physicians work on rotating ‘on-call’ shifts. Many gastroenterologists have their private practice; some have a single practice office or join a larger multi-physician office. Some gastroenterologists are attached to hospitals.Create this Resume
What Does a Gastroenterologist Do?
A gastroenterologist must have vast knowledge about the movement of food and nutrients through the body. They commonly treat conditions like, hemorrhoids, fissures, colon polyps, rectal cancer, colon cancer, hepatitis, gall stones, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, pancreatitis, peptic ulcer disease and other conditions that disturb the normal functioning of the alimentary tract.
A gastroenterologist frequently gives orders to a team of nurses, practitioners, physician assistants, and medical personnel, so he must be able to work well with others.
What Does a Gastroenterologist Test For?
Gastroenterologists perform various specialized investigations to make a precise diagnosis. During treatment, they may discuss with the primary physician or other specialists, like, oncologists when handling cancer patients, or endocrinologists when dealing with the hormone related disorders.
A gastroenterologist trains in several endoscopic procedures. Endoscopy involves using a thin, long tube with tiny camera and light, at the end; the scope is moved and monitored, inside a person’s body to get an unambiguous, close-up view of the internal organs. Endoscopy is used to look for internal disorders, to eliminate polyps, to broaden narrow portions of the GI tract, to carry out biopsies for cancer, and to stop internal bleeding. A gastroenterologist must perform all of these procedures carefully, and also interpret images and decide on the kind of treatment. Some undertake detailed training to conduct endoscopic surgeries.
Gastroenterologists ought to have an extensive knowledge of the upper and lower gastric tract; they must have experience using upper and lower endoscopy device, PEGs, and dilation equipment; optimum surgical experience; stent-insertion skill; and complete knowledge of gastrointestinal diseases and conditions.
Other regular duties include: supervising the medical staff, conferring with patients and other doctors and specialists, creating treatment options, managerial duties, carrying out research, teaching students and other physicians, and maintaining correct patient records.
Gastroenterologist Education and Training
As far as education and training go, here is what you need to be a gastroenterologist:
- You have to begin with obtaining a pre-med undergraduate degree from an accredited university. The degree would take 4 years. Students should focus on science courses like, biology, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry and physics.
- Medical school will take 4 years, comprising of a combination of classrooms education and training, laboratory and hospital rotations. The first 2 years of is spent in classroom and laboratory study.
- After graduating from the medical school, you need to do a residency program that may last from 2 to 6 years. For gastroenterology you need to undertake a residency in internal medicine, which can last between 2 to 3 years.
- After the residency program, you have to enter a fellowship that provides the training needed to work in this area of expertise. The fellowship may last for 3 years, and prepares the physician to appear for the exam in gastroenterology, to be certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.
- A gastroenterologist must keep up their training after certification by the board to stay up-to-date on the latest advancements in the field of gastrointestinal medicine.
Gastroenterologist Job Outlook
The job prospect for gastroenterologists looks very good. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that employment of GI physicians will increase by 14 % between 2006 and 2016, a consequence of a growing and aging population.
The mean salary of a gastroenterologist is in the range of $162,083 – $259,977 per year. After gaining 5 to 9 years of experience, they earn $137,569 – $279,775 annually. After about 10 years of practice, the pay scale nears $305,209 per year.