11 Things to Know Before Becoming an Endoscopy Tech
Becoming an endoscopy technician is professionally and personally rewarding. Not only are you able to assist patients with gastrointestinal issues, but you’ll also be working in a fast-paced profession with an extremely promising future.
You might have heard this job title referred to as a GI technician or a flexible endoscopy reprocessor, but whatever it’s called, it’s a great choice for anyone looking to operate in a dynamic allied healthcare field.
We’ve compiled 11 important points that you should know before starting down this career path.
1. Endoscopy Techs Need a Strong Stomach
A basic endoscopy technician job description reveals that this career isn’t for the squeamish. You’ll assist in the diagnosis of gastrointestinal problems during endoscopic medical procedures, examining internal organs like the esophagus, stomach, intestine, and rectum to detect irregularities like tumors and inflammation.
Endoscopy techs may be required to be present and active in the operating room during procedures. Maintaining composure during surgeries is vital to collect samples, assist doctors and nurses, and keep the working area sterilized. Most people entering this field feel a little uncomfortable at first, but experience and an accredited GI tech training program will help you adjust to it.
2. What Does an Endoscopy Technician Do? What Don’t They Do?
Many people assume that endoscopy tech jobs don’t carry a lot of responsibility, but these allied health professionals are integral to all stages of a gastrointestinal procedure.
GI technicians disinfect and prep the instruments used during surgeries and procedures. Part of this job involves calibrating the instruments (particularly the endoscope, which is inserted into the body to examine the upper and lower GI tract). During these procedures, techs help physicians by handing out tools and instruments, as well as properly handling patient samples.
Endoscopy techs’ responsibilities don’t start or end in the operating room either: They process patients, fill out paperwork, and help clean the operating room afterward.
3. GI Technicians Have to Be a People Person
Because GI techs work outside the operating room, being personable is part of the job description. Putting a patient’s mind at ease falls squarely on your shoulders. You’ll have to interact with – and field questions from – patients who are often nervous. It’s also routine to speak with patients who are disoriented due to anesthesia.
Having strong people skills and answering questions calmly will go a long way towards improving the patient experiences.
4. It Can Be Emotionally Challenging at Times
One of the most challenging aspects for an endoscopy tech (and any allied health professional) is keeping your emotions in check. Not every single patient you work with has a clean bill of health. It’s inevitable that you’ll be in close contact with someone severely or terminally ill.
While it can be challenging and upsetting, it’s rewarding to know that you did everything within your grasp to provide the best patient care experience possible.
5. The Field Is Constantly Evolving
A new endoscopy technician will notice that the technology used in GI procedures is always in flux. To be able to work with new equipment and instrumentation, you’ll need to keep up with trends in the field. Even endoscopy technicians with several years of experience under their belt are always reading up on the most current studies and participating in professional conferences.
Additional education is vital even for those who have completed an endoscopy technician training program.
6. Your Working Schedule Is Fairly Straightforward
Working as an endoscopy technician isn’t a typical office job. While you may have a predictable routine, hours can differ from the standard 9-5 workday. Most GI tech work is focused around scheduled procedures, so you will typically work early morning hours and afternoons. The upside of this means that there are very few late shifts, allowing you to get home at reasonable times each day.
7. Cleaning Is a Major Part of Your Job
In addition to assisting nurses and doctors during procedures, a significant aspect is sterilizing equipment and operating rooms. In particular, endoscopy techs must clean and disinfect endoscopic instruments before and after each gastrointestinal procedure, according to guidelines set out in manufacturer instructions.
8. The GI Technician Job Description Isn’t Limiting
One great part about being an endoscopy technician is that you probably won’t get bored easily. In fact, the wide scope means you’ll probably be responsible for several tasks around the office or clinic.
Some GI techs at private medical practices or clinics may double as general medical assistants or work at reception. These additional roles are often administrative, meaning that paperwork needs to be completed to ensure that the workplace runs smoothly.
Because the duties and roles assigned to an endoscopy tech are constantly changing, you’ll need to be able to multitask to provide the best service and care possible. Bonus: This means that you’ll always have something to do.
9. Prioritization Is Your Friend
Working in this kind of dynamic role means that you need to prioritize. This is particularly true in hospitals, when you might be involved in as many as seven procedures per day. With a constant stream of patients – as well as instruments and rooms that need to be cleaned – having an organized prioritization system ensures a better workflow.
10. Endoscopy Technician Salaries Are Rewarding
Not only is an endoscopy tech program short (most programs are completed in less than a year), but someone entering the field can also expect to command a strong entry-level salary.
Recent graduates can make an average annual salary of $36,000, while the top 10% of earners make around $43,000 a year. That’s a pretty substantial income without a four-year university degree!
11. The Field Isn’t Very Competitive
A major upside for future endoscopy technicians is that there isn’t a ton of competition at the moment, especially compared to nursing and other allied healthcare professions.
Because the endoscopy tech field isn’t overly saturated the need for specialists is expected to continue to expand. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics demand for endoscopy technicians will grow by 10-14% over the next decade.
Start Your Endoscopy Technician Career Today
If you’re interested in kickstarting your GI technician education – and are in the New Jersey area – get in touch with an AIMS representative!