Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, such as an ulcer or gastritis, under unfavorable circumstances can cause cancer. DaVee et al. (2017) supply that “despite substantial efforts at early diagnosis, accurate staging and advanced treatments, esophageal cancer continues to be an ominous disease worldwide” (p. 751). To avoid this, it is necessary for the patients in the risk groups to undergo gastrointestinal examinations from time to time to prevent worse outcomes. The Helicobacter pylori bacterium is believed to be one of the causes of these diseases, thus, a timely test for Helicobacter pylori allows detecting gastrointestinal diseases in the early stages.
This week I, as a nurse in the gastroenterology clinic, had to assist physicians in performing the endoscopic examination for the patients with gastritis and ulcer. As I have found out, a biopsy of the gastrointestinal tract reveals not only the presence of bacteria – it also determines the stage of the disease. Additionally, it allows the doctor to immediately find out whether the nearby organs are affected by it or not. The endoscopic examination is considered one of the most accurate tests, however, it is not easy to undergo. A presence of an experienced and educated nurse is strongly required.
The examination is done using a gastroscope – a long tube which is equipped with a camera and a device to collect a tissue sample. Throughout the procedure, the gastroscope is inserted into the digestive tract through the mouth, which can cause a gag reflex. As a nurse, I had to constantly evaluate the patients’ condition, as well as help them relax so that the gastroscope would not harm them. In addition to taking biomaterial for biopsy, the gastroenterologist usually visually examined the condition of the walls of the patients’ duodenum and stomach, so I also had to write down the results of his inspection for further treatment. Whenever the procedure would end, I had to help the patient recover from the gastroscope insertion and retraction to ease their discomfort. Overall, it was a very insightful experience due to the vide variety of reactions and complaints I had witnessed.
DaVee, T., Ajani, J. A., & Lee, J. H. (2017). Is endoscopic ultrasound examination necessary in the management of esophageal cancer? World Journal of Gastroenterology, 23(5), 751–762.