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Gastroenterology Nurse

Gastroenterology nurses are specially trained to work with patients with gastrointestinal (GI) problems, which typically involve injuries and illnesses affecting a person’s digestive system. This system includes the stomach, large & small intestine and esophagus. These nurses diagnose GI problems, administer therapeutic treatments, educate patients on their condition and some assist with procedures such as colonoscopies and surgeries. Gastroenterology nurses treat patients with ailments as diverse as internal bleeding, cancer or ulcers in the GI tract, acid reflux or incontinence. They work as part of a health care team alongside physicians, surgeons and endoscopists (who use slender tubes to examine the interior of a patient’s GI tract).

In job postings, employers of gastroenterology nurses do not often specify an education level; many only require that their nurses be licensed as Registered Nurses (RN) in their state of practice. This means some positions may only require an associate degree in nursing from an accredited school of nursing and accompanying RN licensure. However, the preferred degree is typically the bachelor’s degree, or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), because bachelor’s degree programs have an additional emphasis on clinical training, communication and leadership in the nursing profession, which is useful in the field. Most nurses specialize in gastroenterology nursing after gaining general experience in other types of medical-surgical nursing, according to the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates, Inc.

The salary of a gastroenterology nurse will depend greatly on their geographical location, experience and education. For instance, a gastroenterology nurse practitioner (prepared at the master’s level in advanced practice) earns between $63,187-$86,476 on average each year, according to online compensation site Payscale.com. A cursory search of job postings for lower-level gastroenterology RNs revealed salaries between $52,600 and $84,244. Employment opportunities for registered nurses of all kinds?including gastroenterology nurses?is expected to be excellent over the next 10 years due to the anticipated retirement of a large number of baby boomer nurses, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.