A career in...
A career in gastroenterology
You should be interested in multiple organs and carrying out hands-on investigations
- By: Philip J Smith
Every day in gastroenterology is different. As a trainee, during a typical shift you will be expected to carry out investigations and execute management plans. These might include stopping a major gastrointestinal bleed; inserting a gastrostomy feeding tube to help someone receive enteral nutrition; draining ascites from a patient with decompensated chronic liver disease; counselling and supporting a patient with metastatic colorectal cancer and their family; or giving biological treatment to a patient with acute colitis.
Gastroenterology is a diverse specialty, not just because of the many procedures you need to master but also because patients with gastroenterological disease often present in a different way to other medical patients. Unlike specialties such as cardiology and respiratory medicine, a gastroenterologist needs in-depth knowledge of multiple organs because signs and symptoms are often systemic and extraintestinal.
Gastroenterologists are interested in the gastrointestinal tract—from mouth to anus. Although considered a single organ, it