Who Is A Gastroenterologist?

Ever visited a special doctor while suffering from a stomach upset or any other stomach-related ailment? Chances are; a gastroenterologist treated you!

Gastroenterologists are doctors who specialise in the treatment of diseases and ailments of the digestive system. As a gastroenterologist, you will listen to the problems of people who are suffering from disorders of the stomach, intestines, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, etc. Gastroenterologists have a detailed understanding of how the human body reacts to food and nutrients, and how certain foods can upset the functioning of the human body.


Roles & Responsibilities


Curing patients of gastrointestinal ailments. As a gastroenterologist, your main job is to look into digestion or alimentary tract related ailments. You would treat conditions like peptic ulcers, haemorrhoids, pancreatitis, fissures, etc., and try to restore the normal functioning of the alimentary tract.


Performing investigative activities for diagnosis. You would conduct various investigations (tests/check-ups) and discuss the case with other physicians and specialists to understand the ailment and treat it better. For instance, you may consult an oncologist for colon or rectal cancer and an endocrinologist for hormonal disorders.


Supervising activities of the medical team. You are expected to supervise and lead your team, which may consist of personnel like nurses, medical assistants, interns and other medical personnel. As a senior, you may head departments or an entire health institute. In such cases, supervising activities becomes important.


Undertaking studies and research. You should stay updated on the latest developments in your profession. You have to research new treatment options as well as look into improved, more effective healing techniques.


Diagnosing the correct ailment. You are responsible for drawing the right conclusion as far as the illness is concerned. Several conditions have similar symptoms, and you’re the expert who figures out what someone is suffering from, whether it’s a minor issue or a critical problem, and the right course of treatment. You have to ensure that patients do not undergo undue stress and get the right medical advice.

Take the Mentoria career assessment test, to find out how well-suited you are as a Gastroenterologist.

What Skills Will I Need To Have To Do This Job Well?

As exciting as this sounds, there are some skills you’ll need to do the job right:


How do you keep up with the latest diagnosing and treating methods? How do you find newer, more effective ways of solving a patient’s distress? It takes a scientific bent of mind and a constant thirst for knowledge to be good at what you do in this field.


You should be able to make decisions under pressure. Say a patient comes to you with a ruptured ulcer or internal bleeding. You will have to make an immediate diagnosis, followed by prompt treatment to save your patient’s life. Critical thinking will help you make informed choices.


Give the scientific definition of a particular ailment to your patient and chances are they won’t understand a word of what you just said. Communication skills will help you explain the problem clearly, and advise the patient on the best treatment method and precautions the patient should take at home. These skills will also help you present research papers more effectively.


Endoscopy is a prominent activity in the gastroenterology profession, so you need to be excellent at it. Endoscopy involves inserting a camera fitted with a tube into a person’s internal cavity to look for disorders, bleeding, malignancy, etc. You should be able to perform endoscopic procedures, a procedure you will perfect in medical school.


Once you reach a position of seniority, you will lead your own team of gastroenterologists as well as other medical support staff. You will head departments or administrate healthcare institutes. At this stage, you will have to ensure the smooth running of overall functions and management of the establishment. You should also be a team player as you may have to work with multi-disciplinary institutes on specific cases.

What Will My Workplace Look Like?

Your work will happen indoors, either in a hospital or a speciality clinic. This means you could get employed at a hospital or even set up your clinic. You may have to work in shifts, depending on your organisation. Even if you have your own clinic, you might still visit hospitals for consultations.

Doctors often work over 40 hours a week. You may have to spend additional time visiting gastrointestinal and liver clinics, meeting patients and making rounds of hospital wards. You will also have endoscopy lists, which form a part of your daily activities. Yes, your work life will be quite hectic at times, but if you love what you do, which is saving lives, you wouldn’t mind it even a bit!


What Is My Scope For Career Growth As A Gastroenterologist?

Patients now prefer going to specialised doctors for specific ailments, so the need for gastroenterologists is bound to increase. As a result, multi-speciality health care centres are looking to employ gastroenterologists either as a full-time employee or as visiting consultants. You could also work in medical research institutes and medical colleges/schools as a faculty member. Entrepreneurial gastroenterologists can also opt to set up their own clinic.

Thinking of a career as a Gastroenterologist? Take the Mentoria assessment test & talk to our career counsellors to get personalized step-by-step guidance for your future career path. 

How Much Will I Get Paid?

The exact number will depend on your reputation and expertise in the profession, but we can give you a general idea.

Gastroenterologists earn anywhere between INR 1,00,000 to INR 16,00,000 per year in India’s top super-speciality hospitals. On an average, a gastroenterologist in India earns around INR 5,40,000. Seniority is also a crucial compensatory factor in the medical profession.

Okay, I’m sold. This is amazing

Okay, I'm sold. This is amazing

5-Step Career Roadmap
Highschool_Junior College (4)_11zon

STEP 1: Class XI-XII/Junior College

Pursue science and choose biology as a subject for Class 12.


STEP 2: Graduation

You would follow the same education path as a doctor and get an MBBS degree. This is the foundation course for any medical specialisation you might wish to pursue.


STEP 3: Specialisation Entrance Examination

Once you’ve completed your MBBS, you would then apply for MD or Doctor of Medicine. This is a three-year postgraduate degree. Just like MBBS, this too requires you to take an entrance test. National Eligibility and Entrance Test-PG, AIIMS-PG, and Christian Medical College Vellore-PG are examples of such postgraduate entrance exams.

Post Grad Degree (1)

STEP 4: Post-graduation

Once you clear the entrance exam, you can enrol in an MD (Medicinae Doctorem) programme. At this stage, you can opt for gastroenterology as the subject of your interest. If you wish to perform surgeries as well, you will also have to pursue an M.Ch. in Gastroenterology, which, along with your MD, would go on for three years.

Once you complete your MD, you can apply for a DM in Nephrology or DNB (Diplomate in National Board) in Nephrology, which is a three-year course. DNB is awarded by the National Board of Examinations under the Union Ministry of Health, India, to candidates who are trained at private hospitals, while MD candidates are the ones trained at medical colleges.

STEP 5: Land a Job

Once you’ve completed your specialisation, you’re a qualified gastroenterologist and can now choose a private practice or employment in a healthcare institute.

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