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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 role of the Registered Nurse (RN) has expanded with the changes in advancing technology and newly defined patient needs. Recognizing that the role of the staff nurse in gastroenterology, hepatology, and/or endoscopy is still evolving, the following is a statement intended to broadly describe the responsibilities and functions of the RN in a staff role specializing in gastroenterology nursing. The roles that the nurse assumes depend on his/her basic nursing preparation, specialized formal or informal education, and clinical experiences. Certification as a gastroenterology registered nurse (CGRN) validates the acquisition of such skills and knowledge. RNs practice in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, private offices, ambulatory care centers, and clinics (SGNA, 2003). The RN functions within the scope of practice as defined by state nurse practice acts, job description of the employing facility, SGNA Standards of Clinical Nursing Practice (2005), and the American Nurses Association Code for Nurses With Interpretive Statements (2001).



The RN is accountable for the quality of nursing care rendered to patients. The RN assumes responsibility for assessing, planning, implementing, directing, supervising, evaluating direct and indirect nursing care, and identifying outcomes for patients in the gastroenterology setting. The RN is responsible for determining the education and competency level of assistive personnel to whom he or she is delegating (ANA, 2004). The specific patient populations to whom direct care is provided include adults, adolescents, or children with gastrointestinal disorders/diseases.


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


1. Establishing nursing diagnoses.


2. Providing health education and procedural teaching to patients and significant others.


3. Administering and evaluating pharmacological and other therapeutic treatment regimens.


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


5. Assisting the physician during diagnostic and therapeutic procedures to promote optimal patient outcomes by team collaboration.


6. Responding to emergency situations to promote optimal patient outcomes by recognizing changes in the patient's health status.


7. Performing diagnostic studies as ordered by a physician.


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


9. Managing follow-up care.


10. Collaborating with other healthcare professionals.


11. Acting as a resource for others.


12. Serving as a mentor for other nurses.


13. Participating in continuing education and achieving/maintaining certification.


14. Participating in data collection for research and using scientific findings to improve patient outcomes.


15. Monitoring performance by developing and participating in performance improvement activities.


16. Participating as an active member in professional and consumer organizations, contributing to professional publications, and presenting at professional meetings.




Approved by the SGNA Board of Directors March 1997, February 2001. Revised February 2005.


SGNA Practice Committee 2004-05

Susan Bohlander, BSN, RN, CGRN, Chairperson


Anne Grand, MSN, APRN-BC


Loralee Kelsey, RN, CGRN


Lisa D. Miller, LPN, CGN


LeaRae Herron-Rice, BSN, RN, CGRN


Cindy Taylor, MSA, BSN, RN, CGRN


Carol K. Stevens, BSN, RN, CGRN


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




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


American Nurses Association. (2004). Scope and standards of practice. Washington, DC: Author. [Context Link]


Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates, Inc. (2003). Gastroenterology nursing: A core curriculum. Chicago: Author. [Context Link]


Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates, Inc. (2005). Standards of care. In Standards of Clinical Nursing Practice. Gastroenterology Nursing, 28(5), 422-427. [Context Link]