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What Is a Gastroenterologist?

Table of Contents:

  1. Who is a GI Doctor?
  2. What Does a Gastroenterologist Do?
  3. What Does Gastroenterology Do?
  4. Gastrointestinal Physicians Responsibilities & Requirements for Job
  5. How to become a GI Specialist?

Who is a GI Doctor?

What is a GI doctor? A Gastroenterologist helps treat patients who are showing signs or symptoms in the digestive system, which could be conditions such as abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, or heartburn. Although, there may be the question of which doctor to see first – a primary care doctor or consult the digestive specialist directly, who is a gastroenterologist. This would be based on the patient’s symptoms and how severe the condition they are in. The primary care doctor can do an initial analysis to see what the patient is experiencing and if they need the attention of a specialist. In that case, it would be right to see a gastroenterologist, referred by the physician.

What does a gastroenterologist do? A gastroenterologist can also help treat a flared-up condition that is already being experienced by the patient – such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or irritable bowel syndrome. In such a case, it is best for the same gastroenterologist to treat the patient who he or she has been taking treatment from. The same physician managing the treatment will be able to better understand the patient’s ongoing issues because they are already aware of the patient’s medical history and have consulted with their primary doctor.

What Does a Gastroenterologist Do?

What does a gastroenterologist do? A gastroenterologist is a doctor who specializes in treating conditions and diseases related to the digestive system. These conditions may include a disorder in the stomach, intestines, esophagus, colon, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts, or liver. Gastrointestinal physicians will normally see patients which have been referred to them by their primary care doctors. This is after the primary care physician has analysed the patient while showing gastrointestinal symptoms such as constipation, indigestion, bleeding, abdominal pain or diarrhea.
What is a GI doctor? What are their responsibilities?
The responsibilities of a GI doctor are:

  • To meet and assess their patients
  • To run diagnostic tests
  • To perform colonoscopies as well as endoscopies to observe the colon and digestive system
  • To take X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasounds of their patients
  • To referring their patients for surgery, and to continue the treatment post-surgery as well
  • To treat patients for conditions like an irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, gastritis, hemorrhoids, colitis, heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease, ulcers, celiac disease, gallbladder disease, or certain type of cancer
  • To complete administrative tasks including filling the paperwork and patient’s records
  • To meet with the medical staff and contribute towards business decisions

What Do Gastroenterology Do?

What do gastroenterology do? A GI doctor spends more than ten years understanding and learning to become specialized in the area of gastrointestinal structure and disease. For this to be possible, candidates need to earn an advanced degree and avail a medical license before they can practice. The GI doctor’s qualifications should include:

Education
For their educational requirements, candidate for GI doctor must earn a Bachelor of Science degree. Which is followed by a degree in Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.). To complete undergraduate study and medical school, both it would take around eight years in total.

Training
After the candidate for GI doctor has earned a medical degree, they’ll spend atleast six years for their formal training. This means that they’ll be required to complete an internal medicine residency program, during which they will gain experience working at a clinic or a hospital under a physician’s supervision who’ll be teaching. During this time, they’ll be looking after the patients and applying their medical education knowledge they’ve gained in the past years in the practical, real-world setting.

Aspiring candidates who want to become gastrointestinal physicians will then complete a fellowship in order to be specialized in gastroenterology. It will be for a duration of three-years time, during which they’ll gain an even more vigorous training with the physicians on call and gain experience directly in patient’s care. Other parts of learning will include screening for cancers, diagnosing and treating different kinds of diseases related to gastroenterology, and gain insight into topics like nutrition, women’s health and obesity.

Certifications
Once the candidate’s residency is complete, gastrointestinal physicians need to be registered with Medical Counsil of India in order to practice.
For doctors who have studied from outside India, will be required to obtain their certification in United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) and the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) to advance in their medical careers. Gastrointestinal physicians can earn their certification by passing the ABIM Internal Medicine Certification Examination or the ABCRS exam.

Skills
What do gastroenterology do? The skills to be a gastroenterologists means that one needs to have a scientific mind and curiosity in reference to digestive tract functions and structures. The candidate must also find joy in helping people improve their health and quality of life. The following are the skills required by gastroenterologists in order to be successful include:

  • Interpersonal skills: The physicians normally meet more than a dozen patients in a single day. It is required that they seem approachable, friendly, and caring towards their patients. The patients should also feel comfortable in the presence of the doctor and be able to share sensitive health information with them.
  • Communication: Gastroenterologists should be able to clearly describe their patient’s complex disease and provide treatment in a language that is understood by them. The doctor must also be able to communicate with the nurses and other medical staff in an efficient manner.
  • Empathy: The doctor should be able to understand what their patients are experiencing and be able to identify with those issues.
  • Problem-solving skills: The physician should take their time to assess patients’ condition and the symptoms they are facing. Accordingly, they should choose the appropriate tests to run and interpret the test results. After which they should determine the best treatment plans for the patient. The physician should be able to continually come up with solutions to even more challenging gastrointestinal-related issues.
  • Leadership: A gastroenterologist is responsible for leading a team of medical staff and contributing in the business decisions that affect the doctor’s practice.

Gastrointestinal Physicians Responsibilities & Requirements for Job

What does a gastroenterologist do? Gastrointestinal physicians are responsible for the following:

  • To consult with patients in order to understand their ongoing health concerns.
  • To perform the needed specialized tests for the patient’s diagnosis.
  • To determine the proper course for patient’s treatment.
  • To consult with the patient’s primary care doctor.
  • To analyze patient’s medical history.
  • To consult with other specialists like an oncologist in case of cancer.
  • To inspect internal organs by performing endoscopic procedures.
  • To scan an X-Ray, MRI, or an ultrasound.
  • To perform required surgery within the digestive tract.

Gastrointestinal physicians are required to do the following:

  • Get a medical degree with internship.
  • Complete three-year residency.
  • Completion three-year Gastroenterology fellowship.
  • Avail certification from the American Board of Internal Medicine.
  • Be an expert at performing endoscopic/colonoscopy procedures.
  • Be efficient with X-Rays, MRIs, and ultrasound scannings.
  • Pay attention to details.
  • Be excellent at verbal and written communication skills.
  • Should have good interpersonal skills.

How to become a GI Specialist?

What is a GI doctor? How to become a GI Specialist? A GI Specialist needs to follow a lengthy and an intensive path to avail their license to practice. For one to become a gastroenterologist, the person might have to spend as many as fourteen years, including school and training programs before they can get hired. The following are the steps to becoming a GI Specialist:

  1. Firstly, to earn a bachelor’s degree: For students wishing to apply for medical school, they need to pass the medical entrance tests conducted by states and independent bodies. To get into AIIMS, GMCH, AFMC Pune, etc, students need to take their entrance exams in these institutes separately. The candidate may pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in any subject as long as it meets the appropriate science requirements to get into medical school. The candidate will be required to include a select number of classes in physics, biology, chemistry, and calculus.
  2. Pass the Medical Entrance Test: The candidates will have to appear for entrance exams such as All India Post Graduate Medical Entrance Exam to take admission. While some institutes can provide admission on the basis of the marks obtained in their MBBS course and the added experience.
  3. Avail a medical degree: Students/candidates need to complete fours years of MBBS degree along with a year and half worth of compulsory training to avail their degree in Doctor of Medicine (M.D.). This master’s degree is required to get admission for speciliazing in Gastroenterology.
  4. Take admission in specialization: After completion of 2 years of M.D. course, the candidate needs to take their admission in specialization of Gastroenterology. The admission for the doctorate level will be based on the performance in qualifying exam as well as performance in their entrance test, which varies in each institution.
  5. Apply for jobs after getting registration from MCA: After one has their qualifications in specializations, getting registered with the Medical Council of India (MCA) might make the candidate more attractive for jobs for doctors. The physician can easily avail jobs in reputed Government and Private Hospitals of their choice or choose to practice in their own clinic, separately and be a link verified doctor and provide their services to patients.

Content for MD:

Who is a GI Doctor? Learn more about what a Gastroenterologist does. Know about the gastrointestinal physician’s responsibilities and how to be a GI Specialist.

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