Prof. Siwan Thomas-Gibson is a Professor of Practice (Gastrointestinal Endoscopy) at Imperial College London. She is also a Consultant Gastroenterologist and Dean of the Academic Institute at St Mark’s National Bowel Hospital.
What attracted you to a career in gastroenterology?
I was encouraged and inspired by a number of gastroenterology colleagues in the past. Notably Dr Jonathan Levi (my boss as an SHO), he loved his speciality and enthused about the subject day to day on our ward rounds. I have always loved the ability to have a practical skill, colonoscopy, at the heart of what I do day to day. I have been fortunate to have many unofficial mentors since then who have inspired and supported me along the way.
What advancement in gastroenterology are you most excited about and why?
I think the pace of advance in endoscopic technology is breathtaking. The range of developments to assist us in performing basic diagnostic colonoscopy all the way to advanced therapeutic procedures makes endoscopic gastroenterology a fast moving and exciting sub-specialty. The integration of artificial intelligence is a fascinating area with lots of opportunity.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
This is an easy question to answer- I most enjoy performing colonoscopy. Patients often arrive anxious or even afraid and delivering a high quality, dignified procedure can be incredibly rewarding.
What is the one thing you would change?
I would like to see more investment in administrative support to improve efficiency of our services, this would include IT as well as personnel.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given in your career?
Do the research or sub-specialty that interests you most. Endoscopy training has evolved beyond all recognition in the last two decades and it has been a privilege to be part of that journey for both my academic and clinical career. It’s a long journey and you need to be enthused about what you do.
What does being a BSG member mean to you?
The BSG is a community of like-minded enthusiasts. It has long been inclusive and welcoming. Being a UK gastroenterologist or GI nurse should be synonymous with being a BSG member- the society supports its membership and needs our support in return.
Programmes like the Mentorship scheme and recent support during the Covid pandemic are just two examples of how the BSG have worked so hard to provide support and guidance to its members.