Downloads2013 R1 advert - gastroenterology
This page contains information on the specialty of gastroenterology, one of the 18 specialties participating in RCP-SRO-coordinated ST3 recruitment.
Gastroenterology is a fast-moving and hugely varied speciality.
Using both medical therapies and endoscopy, gastroenterologists investigate and manage illnesses involving multiple different organs, affecting patients of all ages and ranging from the acute life-threatening to chronic lifelong conditions.
Gastroenterology - trainee characteristics
Trainees should consider a career in gastroenterology if they:
- would like a specialty with a varied working week
- enjoy a mix of life-threatening illness and chronic disease management
- enjoy practical skills
- are hard-working and motivated
- would like a career in a rapidly evolving field with potential to sub-specialise
- would like to work in a multi-disciplinary team.
Working/training in an ST3 gastroenterology post
Gastroenterology is an exciting and challenging practical medical specialty, dealing with conditions affecting the entire GI tract as well as liver and pancreas, and including the investigation and management of malignant, acute life-threatening and chronic conditions for which there is an array of effective medical and endoscopic interventions.
Division of practice & sub-specialties
Currently, consultants are commonly divided by their main practice into hepatologists, luminal gastroenterologists and academics; but the speciality is developing rapidly, and it is now possible to sub-specialise in advanced endoscopy and nutrition.
All trainees learn endoscopy and most consultants continue to perform procedures, ranging from straightforward diagnostic to complex therapeutic work.
Gastroenterology also offers the opportunity to care for patients ranging from adolescence to old age and to develop lasting relationships with patients with chronic conditions.
Potential for out-of-programme-experience
Many trainees choose to develop additional skills whilst training, often done with a period of time out of programme – something encouraged by the speciality.
Commonly these include a period of research, advanced hepatology / IBD / endoscopy / nutrition training or teaching or management experience.
With gastroenterology present in all acute hospitals, being a net income generator for NHS trusts, and already one of the largest medical specialities, there are good job prospects at the end of training.
With the advent of the national bowel cancer screening programme, the planned introduction of flexible sigmoidoscopy screening, and the increasing burden of liver disease, there are several drivers to generate consultant jobs in the speciality, an important consideration when evaluating a speciality.
With sessional elements to the job it is also suited to less-than-full-time work.
Securing an ST3 post in gastroenterology
Aspiring gastroenterologists need to demonstrate excellence in their career to date. Full membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) is an essential requirement to work at ST3 level.
Demonstration of commitment to the specialty is advantageous. Clinical exposure to the specialty and some experience of related practical procedures is desirable.
Higher training - What to expect
Training in gastroenterology is usually combined with training in general (internal) medicine leading to dual accreditation which remains essential for the majority of consultant posts.
Training takes a minimum of five years to complete (or pro rata if training less than full-time). All trainees rotate through secondary and tertiary centres and at some point should participate in a specialist out of hours ‘bleeder’ rota.
Furthermore, there are likely to be opportunities during the programme to spend at least one year of training in acquiring advanced clinical skills such as in hepatology, endoscopy and nutrition.
- British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG)
- NHS medical careers
- JRCPTB specialty page
- RCP (London), My specialty
- 2010 curriculum
- 2013 person specification
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