Gastrointestinal conditions account for one sixth of all admissions to hospital making it one of the core branches of internal medicine. It is a rapidly expanding and evolving speciality since the development of the endoscopy in the 70s, which provides gastroenterologists with a large practical aspect to their job for the investigation and treatment of patients.
 
PERSONALITY
 
  • Able to perform well in stressful situations.
  • Academic.
  • Able to communicate well with people (especially with surgeons)
  • Excellent practical abilities.
  • Managerial skills
 
AVERAGE WEEK
 
Time is spent between endoscopy lists, on ward rounds and specialist gastrointestinal and liver clinics. Other sessions include clinical meetings, MDT meeting, and teaching sessions.
Often 8am-6pm but because gastrointestinal procedures are specialised when other consultants are on-call often they are called for advice where the Gastroenterology consultant may have to come in to perform an emergency endoscopy.
 
BEST BITS
 
  • Gastroenterological procedures can make a big difference to a patient’s life, and many can be undertaken without surgery.
  • Relatively non-invasive procedures, like removing a gall stone or taking out a difficult polyp without the need for an operation, is a routinely rewarding part of the role.
  • A very varied speciality.
 
CHALLENGES
 
  • Dealing with patients with incurable functional conditions, helping patients to accept that they have to learn to live with the condition, however you can target improving symptoms.

  • On-call emergency endoscopy often means coming into hospital when needed.

WHAT THE FACT?
 
  • The first endoscopy was developed by Philipp Bozzini in 1806 which involved an artificial light source and mirrors, however the Vienna Medical society disapproved of 'such curiosity' inspecting human orifices.

  • When 13-year-old Sylvia Diggery (née Beckingham) was admitted to a Manchester hospital with a liver condition in 1948, she became the first patient to be treated by the NHS.

  • Barry Marshall an Australian physician that proved in 1985 that H.Pylori was the main cause of peptic ulcers. After multiple failed attempts of trying to infect piglets with the bacteria he had a baseline endoscopy and drank a petri dish of cultured H.pylori. He experienced symptoms within days, and by 2 weeks he had a further endoscopies and biopsy which showed massive inflammation. He later received a Nobel Prize for discovery of H.pylori and its role in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease. This later lead to the breakthrough in the understanding the causative link between H.pylori infection and gastric cancer.

 
OVERVIEW
 
Salary                         4
 
Competitive                4
 
Variety in Work           4
 
Work Life Balance      3
 
 
FURTHER INFO
 
British Gastroenterology Society
NHS Medical Careers
Royal College of Physicians

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