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Gastroenterologist Job Description, Career as a Gastroenterologist, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Training/Educational Requirements: License upon graduating from medical school

Median Salary: $315,038 per year

Job Prospects: Very good

Job Description

This specialized physician sees and treats patients who suffer from any gastrointestinal issues. These doctors specialize in this field, so they are qualified to diagnose and treat any disorders, diseases, or irregularities that pertain to the digestive tract. Primary care physicians usually refer patients to gastroenterologists.

Gastroenterologists must be experts in their field as patients come to them for proper diagnosis and relief from the problems that are plaguing their health. They may perform any number of tests on patients, including blood work, colonoscopies, and endoscopies. They must be adept at performing these tests and reading the results so that they can convey to patients what their problems may be.

They see patients initially in consultations, where they work to understand what the specific problems of the individual patients are. They then perform a physical exam and work with the notes and recommendations of the primary care physician. Gastroenterologists work to understand the symptoms of each patient, so that they can apply all of this information to a proper diagnosis. They may perform tests or may prescribe medication, as the treatment plan for each patient is as unique as each condition.

Gastroenterologists often run their own practice or are involved in a smaller one with just a few other doctors. As they are the one type of physician specialized in the field of the digestive tract, gastroenterologists must perform necessary surgeries that are required to fix any problems within this area of the body. They are not just physicians that see patients in the office, but they are also surgeons when such action is required for certain conditions. They not only see patients but have to handle all of the responsibilities necessary to run a business. They hire a staff and oversee all functions to ensure that the financial, marketing, and other functions are handled properly. Patient care is usually the most important aspect of this job, but along with it come many other responsibilities to keep gastroenterologist’s business running.

Training/Educational Requirements

As with any other physician, a gastroenterologist must complete medical school. After that she or he must complete a residency and fulfill all of the other requirements that any physician would have to perform. To become an actual gastroenterologist, however, completion of a specific advanced degree is required. Since this is a specialty within the medical field that requires an individual to be a subject matter expert in their area, advanced education and training are a must.

Ongoing training comes in the form of on-the-job experience in which gastroenterologists may work with a wide variety of patients who have differing symptoms and conditions. Additionally, gastroenterologists need to keep their medical license current with ongoing education. It can be quite helpful to keep up with current studies, findings, and trends by attending workshops or seminars additional to licensing requirements.

How to Get Hired

The best way to get hired as a gastroenterologist is to have the necessary educational and work experience. No matter how they wish to practice their profession, be it for a hospital, larger medical clinic, or a smaller or private practice, gastroenterologists do best with experience working with different conditions and different techniques. This is how they will get hired by someone else, and experience is extremely important if these specialized doctors wish to build up their clients in their own practice.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

As this is a job within the health care industry, the outlook is quite good. Adding to this is the fact that it is a specialization, and this contributes to even greater potential for job opportunities. As more patients are suffering with digestive and gastrointestinal issues, the need for this type of specialized doctor continues to grow. Many medical facilities and practices wish to have a gastroenterologist on staff or associated with them. There is also great potential for growth because many gastroenterologists wish to leave an established practice and open their own later on in their career, and this can contribute to openings as well.

Working Environment

The typical working environment for a gastroenterologist is a typical medical office. Though the specific employer may allow for some variety within the field, gastroenterologists usually divide their time between an office and exam rooms. They may expect to work in an operating room if certain procedures or surgeries are required for their patients. This can make for a sometimes stressful and very detail-oriented environment, and it is important that the individual be able to adapt to these circumstances. Gastroenterologists may split their time between a hospital and their phys office because they handle surgeries on certain days and patient consultations and exams on other days. It can help if they have a calming demeanor to be able to help their patients through sometimes difficult procedures.

Salary and Benefits

As this is a specialized type of medical profession, the average salary range is rather high, at about $315,038 per year. There is a rather large fluctuation in the salary that a gastroenterologist earn, being anywhere between $248,768 and $392,833. The geographical location, capacity in which a gastroenterologist practices, and professional experience have play a big role in the salary earned. Most of the time, gastroenterologists can expect to receive rather generous benefits, such as paid vacation and sick days and medical coverage. If a gastroenterologist works for herself or himself, they are responsible for the benefits.

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