What they do
Gastroenterologists are physicians who deal with diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and associated organs - liver, biliary tract and pancreas.
A great majority of their work involves endoscopic procedures. These specialists deal with acute and chronic conditions, which can be life-threatening.
This is a relatively small-sized occupation. The majority of gastroenterologists practice in the metropolitan area.
Most gastroenterologists spend the majority of their time in outpatient consultations; however, they also carryout procedures and spend time on hospital wards. There is a lot of direct patient contact, and relationships with patients can extend from the short to long term. Gastroscopy, colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy account for a large part of their procedural work, allowing the gastroenterologist to visualise pathology, obtain biopsies, and perform therapeutic interventions.
Tools and technologies
Gastroenterologists employ a range of technical procedures for the purposes of diagnoses and therapeutic intervention. It is likely these procedures will become more numerous and effective as technology progresses.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a gastroenterologist, you need to first become a qualified medical practitioner and then specialise in gastroenterology.
To become a medical practitioner, you need to study a degree in medicine. Alternatively, you can study a degree in any discipline followed by a postgraduate degree in medicine.
Some universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
To specialise in gastroenterology, doctors must apply to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) to complete the Physician Specialty Training Program in Gastroenterology and ultimately receive fellowship.
To be eligible for this specialist training, on completion of your medical degree, you must work in the public hospital system for two years (internship and residency).
Required registration and licensing
To work as a gastroenterologist in WA, you will need to obtain registration from the Medical Board of Australia.