The medical field has witnessed tremendous advancements in the past decade. Lifestyle changes have resulted in various health disorders that require urgent medical assistance. Thanks to medical advances, our healthcare systems can diagnose and treat most conditions in numerous ways. There may be instances when the doctor suspects an issue inside the body. Such cases require diagnosis through endoscopy, wherein the physician or surgeon uses a camera-fitted tube to check for any problems in the organs. This is where the role of an endoscopy technician comes in. To know about the future of endoscopy technicians, follow the article below!
What is endoscopy?
Endoscopy refers to a medical procedure used to examine the inside body of a patient. This process is non-surgical and is performed using an endoscope. An endoscope is a flexible, thin tube with a light and camera attached. This tube can be inserted into the body to examine any organ. The use of endoscopes generally results in minimally invasive surgeries. Endoscopy is mainly performed on the esophagus, throat, liver, or intestine. The process of endoscopy results in the detailed diagnosis of the problem and assists in creating a future treatment plan.
Patients under sedation are required to rest for a few hours and leave with assistance. Those without sedation can leave unassisted. In most cases, patients complain of a sore insertion site that is easily curable. A large number of endoscopies are performed daily for quick diagnosis of diseases. This has resulted in a higher staff requirement in this field, especially endoscopy technicians.
Who is an endoscopy technician?
Upper endoscopy is usually performed on the esophagus, liver, or intestine to study the formation of any lesion or inflammation. These examinations are a part of the gastrointestinal field of study. Trained gastroenterologists perform endoscopy. The endoscopy process requires the assistance of an entire medical team that consists of the physician, surgeon, nurses, and endoscopy technicians. The main job of the endoscopy technician is to prepare the procedure room, maintain hygiene and assist the doctor. Read this article to understand in detail the work profile, job satisfaction, and eligibility of an endoscopy technician.
Cases where endoscopy is performed
Endoscopy is suggested for patients who complain of stomach pain, difficulty swallowing, swelling, bleeding, diarrhea, anemia, cancer, nausea, or constipation. Endoscopy is not only performed for the intestines or food pipe but can be used in many cases, as mentioned below:
- Small intestine
- Large intestine/ colon
- Respiratory tract
- Urinary tract
- A female reproductive system such as fallopian tubes, cervix, and uterus
Endoscopy is generally used to detect fatty liver or lesions. Other applications include observing the fetus in pregnant women, endodontic surgeries, orthopedic surgeries, and plastic surgeries. There may be numerous other medical applications of endoscopy as well. It is interesting to note that endoscopy is used in non-medical cases also. These include visualization of scale architectural models, examination of explosives, and the internal inspection of complex technical systems.
Jobs of an endoscopy technician
An endoscopy technician performs several jobs. The salaries for an endoscopy technician are pretty high, and the job satisfaction rate is also pretty good. However, both these factors may differ based on experience and knowledge. To become an endoscopy technician, pursue a high school diploma and formal certification. The next step is to gain on-the-job training as well as experience. After a training period, the endoscopy technicians may be given the following jobs:
- Preparation of the procedure room: An endoscopy technician must clean and prepare the procedure room, where the endoscopy process has to occur. Endoscopy is a delicate procedure and requires a set of apparatus to be used. Different kinds of endoscopies need different endoscopes. The endoscopy technician has to arrange for the right type and size of the endoscope and other necessary surgical materials such as cotton, sterile gauze, IV fluids, and antibiotics.
- Maintenance of hygiene: Many risks are associated even with the minutest insertion in the human body. The human body is susceptible to many disorders and infections. Hence, endoscopic procedures require a high level of hygiene before, during, and after the process. An endoscopy technician is expected to keep everything sterilized and hygienic. The procedure room needs to be cleaned well and changed sheets and other clothing. Also, the apparatus is to be kept sterile to avoid any infections and complications.
- Patient intake: The doctor may suggest endoscopy after a series of appointments. Endoscopy is a delicate procedure; it requires understanding its uses and risks. An endoscopy technician takes care of the patient intake and registration of their details, symptoms, history, allergies, and other concerns. The ET may also answer any patients’ queries regarding their endoscopic procedure.
- Updation of paperwork: An endoscopy technician takes care of all the paperwork throughout the endoscopy process. Although endoscopy is a non-surgical procedure, many risks are anticipated with it. Some hazards include infection, additional sedation, internal bleeding, or perforation. Some patients may also negatively react to the administered drugs. After discussing these risks with the patient, the healthcare institution must update some paperwork. This paperwork includes the patient’s details, history, previous treatments, allergic reactions to any drugs, injuries, and most importantly, consent for the procedure. The patients must read about the risks associated with endoscopy and permission to perform the endoscopy. In some cases, an attendant must also sign the consent forms. After collecting all consent forms from the endoscopy technician, the doctors perform the task.
- Collection of biopsies: Biopsy is the procurement of a small part of the tissue from inside the body to check how much disease has been spread and further examine its nature. Biopsies are a must in cases where the physician suspects the beginning of cancer. The role of an endoscopy technician is to take specimens from the patients for further examination. They assist in taking biopsies of the affected tissues.
- Checking the equipment regularly: The equipment used for endoscopy should be technically sound and updated so that the results are pretty straightforward. Any fault in the apparatus can increase the risk of infections, perforations, and bleeding. The endoscopy technician is initially trained to learn about different endoscopes and their variations. At the time of endoscopy, it is the role of an endoscopy technician to make sure that the equipment used is updated and safe to use.
- Direct contact with patient: An endoscopy technician must gather details from the patient and is, therefore, directly contacting them. The endoscopy technician may explain the process to the patient and answer any related queries. Their job is to transport the patient to the procedure room and back to the observation room. They constantly check the patients after the endoscopy to note down any unusual events.
The healthcare systems are making the best use of the available knowledge and resources to treat people quicker and better. In many situations, endoscopy becomes a crucial part of the diagnosis. Every person in the team performing endoscopy plays a vital role. The job of an endoscopy technician is that of responsibility and hard work. This field is flourishing along with various technical and scientific advancements. An endoscopy technician requires basic life support training and fundamental medical knowledge. As elaborated above, the future of an endoscopy technician is a promising one.