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Role delineation is a description of the responsibilities and functions of a healthcare worker in a specific role, including the current activities common to this role.



The changing healthcare environment has led to the development of expanded roles for nurses with graduate degrees in clinical specialties. Recognizing that the advanced practice nursing role in gastroenterology, hepatology, and endoscopy is still evolving, the following is a statement to broadly describe the responsibilities and functions of the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) specializing in gastroenterology nursing. The APRN may be either a clinical nurse specialist or nurse practitioner who has completed an advanced degree in nursing (masters or doctorate) and who, through study and supervised clinical practice, has become an expert in a clinical area of nursing; in this instance, gastroenterology, hepatology, and/or endoscopy (ANA, 2001; Hamric et al., 2000). Additional specific training, credentials and/or advanced practice certification may be required by the state in which the nurse practices. The scope of practice of the APRN is distinguished by the level of complexity, responsibility, and autonomy of practice. APRNs practice in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, private offices, ambulatory care centers, and clinics. The APRN functions within the scope of practice as defined by the state nurse practice act, job description of the employing facility, SGNA Standards of Clinical Nursing Practice (2005), the American Nurses Association Code for Nurses (2001), the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Standards of Practice and Core Competencies (2002), and the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists Statement on Practice and Education (1998).



The APRN provides service through direct care, consultation, research, education, and collaboration with other healthcare professionals. The specific patient populations to whom direct care is provided include adults, adolescents, or children with gastrointestinal or hepatic disorders/diseases. The care provided may include, but is not limited to, advanced assessment, diagnosis, treatment/care planning, implementation, evaluation, and patient education. The following are general statements describing the major principles of the role (AANP, 2002; ANA, 2001).


The role of the APRN includes, but is not limited to:


1. Performing a comprehensive history and physical assessments.


2. Ordering and/or performing diagnostic studies.


3. Establishing medical and nursing diagnoses.


4. Prescribing, administering, and evaluating pharmacological and other therapeutic treatment regimens.


5. Managing follow-up care.


6. Collaborating with other healthcare professionals.


7. Acting as a consultant for other providers regarding the medical and nursing care of clients.


8. Serving as a mentor for other nurses.


9. Identifying and providing learning opportunities for other providers.


10. Documenting patient data to ensure continuity in the provision and coordination of patient care.


11. Establishing priorities and making ethically sound decisions to ensure safe patient care.


12. Identifying groups, families, and individuals at risk and developing a plan to address those risks including, but not limited to, education programs, screening programs and patient education materials.


13. Participating in continuing education and achieving/maintaining certification and other professional credentials.


14. Participating in research and use of scientific findings to improve client outcomes.


15. Monitoring performance by developing and participating in quality management activities.


16. Being a leader in professional and practice issues through active membership in professional and consumer organizations, publication of scholarly works, and presentations at professional meetings.





American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. (2002). Standards of practice. Washington, DC: Author. [Context Link]


American Nurses Association. (2001). Code for nurses with interpretive statements. New York: Author. [Context Link]


Hamric, A.B., Spross, J.A., & Hanson, C.M. (2000). Advanced nursing practice: An integrative approach. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company. [Context Link]


National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists. (1998). Statement on clinical nurse specialist practice and education. Harrisburg, PA: Author. [Context Link]


Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates, Inc. (2005). Standards of care. In Standards of clinical nursing practice and role delineation statements. Gastroenterology Nursing, 28(5), 422-427. [Context Link]

Recommended Reading


American College of Nurse Practitioners. (2000). What is a nurse practitioner? Washington, DC: Author.


Couret, M. (2004). About NPs. Retrieved on October 5, 2004 from



Approved by the SGNA Board of Directors June 1996 and 2001. Revised February 2005.

SGNA Practice Committee 2004-05


Susan Bohlander, BSN, RN, CGRN, Chairperson


Cynthia M. Friis, MEd, BSN, RN, BC


Anne Grand, MSN, APRN-BC


LeaRae Herron-Rice, BSN, RN, CGRN


Loralee Kelsey, RN, CGRN


Lisa D. Miller, LPN, CGN


Carol K. Stevens, BSN, RN, CGRN


Cindy Taylor, MSA, BSN, RN, CGRN