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Gastroenterology Nursing

Gastroenterology nurses, also referred to as endoscopy nurses, work with physicians in an effort to treat and diagnose patients with conditions that affect the gastrointestinal tract and the digestive system. These types of conditions include abdominal pains, cancer, ulcers, and reflux. Other types of conditions that are a regular part of this specialization include the removal of foreign bodies, dyspepsia, dysphagia, and carcinoma.

What Does the Job of a Gastroenterology Nurse Entail?

This nursing specialization allows one to work in a wide variety of work settings including private medical offices, outpatient clinics, and acute care hospitals. Gastroenterology nurses must educate their patients on the medical conditions they have and suggest a variety of ways they can manage their symptoms. Nurses in this specialty need to be good at communicating, as they will need to work with physicians, home care specialists, nutritionists, families, and patients on a daily basis. In addition to being great communicators, gastroenterology nurses must also be familiar with technology such as computerized tomography scans, x-rays, and exploratory endoscopic procedures. In this field, a nurse may work with newborns, adults, adolescents and children depending on the type of facility that he or she works in.

What are the Education and Certification Requirements for a Gastroenterology Nurse?

The first step in becoming a gastroenterology nurse is to become a registered nurse. This can be done by completing an accredited nursing program. Once one has earned a diploma, associate's degree, or bachelor's degree, he or she must pass the NCLEX-RN licensing exam and apply for an RN license.

In order to become a Certified Gastroenterology Registered Nurse (CGRN), an individual must have at least 2 years of full-time or 4,000 hours of part-time experience in GI/endoscopy in the past 3 years, according to the American Board of Certification for Gastroenterology Nurses (ABCGN). In addition to proof of this work experience and an unencumbered RN license, contact information must be submitted for two practitioners who can verify this experience. ABCGN Certification must be renewed every 5 years.

Like with many other nursing specializations, one can choose to earn an advanced degree to become a clinical nurse specialist or nurse practitioner and pursue a more autonomous role and higher earnings potential.

What is the Average Salary for a Gastroenterology Nurse?

Salary information is subject to change, and varies by location, employer, and the individual's education and experience level. The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reports that the median pay in 2010 was $64,690. Johnson & Johnson estimates that nurses in this specialty make between $63,000 and $85,000.

What is the Job Outlook?

The job outlook for registered nurses is excellent, with significant job growth reported by the BLS from 2010-2020. Johnson & Johnson states that almost half of the jobs available for gastroenterology nurses are likely to be with private practices.

Additional Resources

  • Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates: This links to the official site of the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates. On this site you will find the member center, information on education and educational resources, events and issues in the industry.
  • American Nurses Association: This is the official site for the American Nurses Association, which is named the largest nursing organization in the United States. On this site, you will find a range of information on careers and credentialing, professional nursing practice, health care policy, government affairs and nursing ethics.
  • Registered Nurses: This links to in-depth information that describes the complete career of a registered nurse. This is the official entry into the Occupational Outlook Handbook as put together by the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the United States Department of Labor. On this site, you will find information ranging from the nature of work as a registered nurse to the annual reported wages.
  • Gastroenterology Nursing: This link provides you with access to subscribe to the official journal of the Canadian Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates and the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates, Inc.
  • Society of International Gastroenterological Nurses and Endoscopy Associates: This site provides you with access to a wide range of professionals in your field. You will find invaluable resources on this site as well as the opportunity to join the Society of International Gastroenterology Nurses and Endoscopy Associates (SIGNEA) as a member.
  • American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy: Find information, education and support on this website. This link also provides you with the opportunity to join as a member.
  • American Gastroenterological Association: This link to the American Gastroenterological Association is the link to the GI community’s trusted source. Here you will find information on advocacy and regulation, journals and publications, research and education.
  • EndoNurse: This is the official site of the EndoNurse magazine where you find the latest information in this field of nursing.
  • Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America: This site provides you with information on living with IBD, clinical trial information, locating physicians, research and a variety of disease information.
  • Digestive Disease National Coalition: This advocacy organization provides you with information and insider links to voluntary and professional societies that are concerned with digestive disease. 
  • International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: This site provides you with resources on information relating to digestive health, support and assistance from this non-profit organization.