The gastrointestinal (GI) system, also known as the digestive system, is responsible for the breakdown and absorption of nutrients from food and the elimination of waste products. It includes the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus.
For nurses, understanding the anatomy and function of the GI system is crucial for assessing and managing patients with GI disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and peptic ulcers. They must be able to recognize and assess symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting.
Nurses also play a vital role in providing education on nutrition and healthy eating habits to prevent GI disorders and promote overall health. They may also assist with diagnostic procedures such as colonoscopies and endoscopies, and administer medications and other treatments for GI disorders.