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 gastroenterologists business running.