Advancing from flexible sigmoidoscopy to colonoscopy in rural family practice

Tenn Med. 1998 Jan;91(1):21-6.


This paper describes the background, experience, training, and preceptorship of a rural family physician that culminated in provision of diagnostic and therapeutic colonoscopy to his patients. Initial training took place in a two-day continuing medical education course. Subsequent training consisted of one-on-one training in 11 colonoscopies and five polypectomies, correspondence, recommended readings, a one-on-one preceptorship, and telephone consultation. Training was provided by University of Tennessee faculty who were experts in the area of colonoscopy and polypectomy procedures. The outcomes of 250 consecutive colonoscopies performed by the rural family physician are documented here. Training requirements vary widely by professional organization and subspecialty. Some subspecialists have recommended as many as 100 supervised colonoscopies and 25 polypectomies as a minimum training requirement for hospital privileges. It is our contention that unnecessarily high training requirements add to educational costs and may restrict qualified rural physicians from providing these services.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Clinical Competence
  • Colonoscopy / methods*
  • Colonoscopy / statistics & numerical data
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Family Practice / education
  • Family Practice / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Intestinal Diseases / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rural Health Services*
  • Sigmoidoscopy / methods
  • Sigmoidoscopy / statistics & numerical data
  • Tennessee
  • Treatment Outcome