A career in otolaryngology is fascinating, fulfilling and fun, but how do we convince our potential successors? Jay Doshi, Asad Qayyum, Bradley Storey and Tom Milner outline the fantastic efforts to showcase ENT throughout the UK.
Student and foundation doctors in otolaryngology – UK(SFO-UK)
The SFO UK (Student and Foundation Doctors in Otolaryngology) was formed in 2014 by the amalgamation of a student organisation called National ENT Undergraduate and Foundation Trainee Society (NEUFTS) and the Medical Student and Junior Doctors committee (MSJDC) of ENT UK.
I took over the reins as Chairman of the committee in the summer of 2016. My predecessors were Professor Simon Lloyd (Manchester, UK) and Mr David Strachan (Leeds, UK) who led this committee since its original inception under the name of the MSJDC.
Essentially, SFO UK is the student and junior doctor ‘arm’ of ENT UK, which is the specialty’s professional national body within the UK. Our primary aims are to:
- Raise awareness of ENT as a career among medical students and to encourage junior trainees to consider ENT as a career.
- Promote education in ENT amongst medical students and foundation doctors.
- Develop and maintain a national undergraduate ENT curriculum.
An undergraduate curriculum has already been developed and published . This was used by the Royal College Surgeons of England when developing their national undergraduate curriculum. It is available to view on the SFO UK website.
The SFO UK website (sfo.entuk.org) is a rich learning resource for medical students/foundation doctors. The majority of the resources are free and include career advice, teaching podcasts and lists of further educational links/prizes available that can give them a head start in ENT.
Membership for students costs £20 per annum. It entitles members to online access to Clinical Otolaryngology, allows them to enter the annual undergraduate essay competition and also the medical student elective prize. A list of previous winning essays and elective reports are available on the SFO website.
“It is important that we encourage as many medical students as possible to maximise their ENT experience and get a taste of what an ENT career has to offer.”
Work is ongoing to provide access for student members to relevant sections of E-lefENT (ENT UK’s online learning platform). The undergraduate essay and elective prize-winners receive £500 as well as being invited to join the SFO UK committee.
We currently have 108 SFO members and a growing SFO UK social media presence.
An ENT ‘i-Book’ is in the final stages of editing. This is essentially an undergraduate ‘all you-need-to-know’ handbook, which reflects the developed ENT undergraduate curriculum. This will be published as a Kindle book by the end of 2017.
An SFO UK network has also been developed, aiming to have a named medical student/foundation and core-training doctor within each respective medical/foundation school.
Furthermore, a job description and formal application process has been put in place to ensure this is a competitive appointment. A named ENT consultant leading on undergraduate education is already in place in most medical schools. The network representatives work closely with their local undergraduate leads and it is hoped that this will allow easier dissemination of SFO UK activities, as well as allow feedback regarding undergraduate training issues to go directly back to the committee. The SFO representatives are also expected to promote ENT education locally in conjunction with ENT undergraduate leads. Successful examples to date include numerous ENT promotional careers events, as outlined in the following articles, and ENT themed teaching days comprising of lectures and practical clinical skills at a number of UK medical schools.
Delegates at previous SFO events practise microscopy skills.
SFO UK hosted their 7th annual conference in Sept 2017 in Birmingham, UK. We had 96 delegates registered from throughout the UK and had over 40 abstracts submitted with prizes for best oral and poster presentations.
The conference consisted of lectures from eminent speakers from a variety of ENT subspecialty disciplines and advice/guidance about how to embark and get ahead in ENT training followed by an afternoon of practical skills stations. At the British Academic Conference in Otolaryngology (BACO) 2018 (Manchester, UK) we will be having dedicated sessions for undergraduates and foundation doctors (lectures and skills sessions) following the success of a similar format in Liverpool at BACO 2015, where over 65 delegates attended.
We also support local and national careers fairs. Traditionally, SFO UK has had a presence at the annual Royal Society of Medicine Careers Fair. In the last year we have also had representation at regional events e.g. Royal College Surgeons Edinburgh travelling careers fairs as well as local events organised by regional SFO representatives.
SFO marketing material is freely available for the events (promotional posters, careers leaflets etc.) and SFO UK branded merchandise such as pens and stress balls are always well-received by medical students!
Competitive appointment to higher surgical ENT training within the UK occurs once a year. As demonstrated in the 2017 national selection round, the number of applicants to higher surgical training continues to fall. It is important that we encourage as many medical students as possible to maximise their ENT experience and get a taste of what an ENT career has to offer with the aim of attracting the brightest and the best into our specialty.
SFO UK is striving to raise its profile amongst medical students/foundation doctors and the ENT fraternity. The committee is a vibrant, enthusiastic mix of students, junior doctors and consultants. I wish to thank all the current and past members of the committee for their time and hard work to date and encourage readers of this article to promote ENT (and SFO UK!) to their medical students and junior doctors.
1. Lloyd S, Tan ZE, Taube MA, Doshi J. Development of an ENT undergraduate curriculum using Delphi survey. Clin Otolaryngol 2014;39(5):281-8.
Author: Jayesh Doshi.
1st Foundation and Medical Students’ ENT Masterclass®
1 July 2017, Doncaster Royal Infirmary
The ENT Masterclass® free educational platform expanded their resources once more, this time aimed at securing the future of our specialty. Over the last three years ENT in the UK, like other surgical specialties, has seen a steady but worrying decline in applications for training posts nationally. The reasons are many and complex. One approach was to introduce our diverse and unique surgical specialty to medical students and foundation doctors with a national training day through deaneries and medical schools. Neil Jones, FY2 at Doncaster, was the coordinator and was instrumental in promoting this event.
Delegates and faculty at the 1st Foundation and Medical Students’ ENT Masterclass®.
The 1st Foundation and Medical Students’ ENT Masterclass® was held at Doncaster Royal Infirmary as free resource with a single objective: ‘a day in the world of ENT!’ And that was what it was. A spectrum of topics and interesting cases were introduced by a faculty that kept most delegates on the edge of their seats.
“Over the last three years ENT in the UK, like other surgical specialties, has seen a steady but worrying decline in applications for training posts nationally. The reasons are many and complex.”
The fine art of otology and paediatrics were ably presented with nice clinical illustrations by Tawakir Kamani, Asad Qayyum and Emma Stapleton.
The rhinology and head and neck team followed with both elective and emergency topics. Perhaps the most interesting part of the day was the ‘working lunch’ workshops. Ninety minutes of hands on sessions ranging from audiograms to endoscopies to tracheostomies. The delegates loved every minute of it, which was reflected in the generous comments in the feedback forms. Emma Stapleton and Hanna Lancer shared their views of an ENT career and the ‘tricks’ to get a registrar post respectively. The day ended with a clinical quiz, boxes of chocolates changing hands and a lot to think on the journey home…
ENT, here we come!
Author: Asad Qayyum.
North West ENT Careers Day
As a medical student entering my final year, I understand all too well how the exposure gained during clinical placements at medical school can affect our views of and preferences towards different specialties. In the UK, ENT can be underrepresented within curricula: the majority of my class will soon graduate with little more than one week’s exposure to the specialty.
Delegates and faculty at the North West ENT Careers Day, May 2017.
I was fortunate enough to have an early attachment to ENT and am now actively pursuing an otolaryngology career. I am also extremely keen to demonstrate to others how fantastic this specialty can be. Thus, in May 2017, two of my junior doctor colleagues – Kristina Lee (CT2) and Elliot Heward (FY1) – and I organised an ENT careers day with the backing of SFO UK.
A series of lectures in the morning addressed vital issues in the ENT career pathway. Delegates heard speakers of various grades and experience mix their anecdotes with the expectations of the sub-specialties; the stereotype of the pleasant ENT surgeon was reinforced, while the reality of challenging on-call work and being woken to manage severe head and neck trauma was illustrated – albeit apparently infrequently.
“Get involved whenever and wherever you can! Maybe you will realise, as I did two years ago, what a wonderful and varied specialty ENT really is.”
Mr Alex Yao (CT1) gave delegates a brief overview as to what SFO UK can offer students and junior doctors; Ms Daniela Bondin (ENT Registrar) beautifully illustrated ENT with numerous pictures of common conditions managed; Professor Simon Lloyd (Consultant Otologist and Skull Base Surgeon) gave us his own unique story of how he got to where he was and what a typical week for him might be like; and, Ms Maha Khan (ENT Registrar) gave us all the need-to-know details about training in ENT. All the speakers discussed their top tips to enhance the chances of being selected onto a training programme, including starting an operative logbook early and applying for national undergraduate ENT prizes.
After a sociable lunch allowing for networking between delegates and tutors, the afternoon involved fun, hands-on workshops. Delegates practised otoscopy, tried retrieving a foreign body from the ear, were taught the pathway for epistaxis management, practised suturing on skin pads and tied a tonsil tie.
We wish to thank local hospitals and consultants for the equipment and time dedicated to support this endeavour.
These generous acts and the ENT surgeons I have met along the way are genuinely inspiring and motivational. Personally, I hope that this article demonstrates what a positive impact our senior colleagues can have on the students and future of the specialty.
In closing, I urge the current ENT generation, do not forget the impact that you, as an individual and role model, can have on students. And, to my peers and all medical students: Get involved whenever and wherever you can! Maybe you will realise, as I did two years ago, what a wonderful and varied specialty ENT really is.
Author: Bradley John Storey.
1st University of Glasgow Ear, Nose and Throat Society (UGENTS) Medical Student Conference, 24 June 2017
The University of Glasgow Ear, Nose and Throat Society (UGENTS) held its inaugural pan-Scotland conference in Glasgow, set up by Aishan Patel and fellow medical student colleagues. Medical students with an interest in ENT attended from universities across Scotland. The aims of the conference were to further medical students’ ENT knowledge, establish the practicalities of attaining a career in ENT, and nurture enthusiasm for ENT as a specialty.
Mr Saleh Okhovat explains the technique of nasendoscopy.
Attending lecturers included Ms Thushitha Kunanandum (Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow), Mr David Crampsey (Gartnavel General Hospital, Glasgow) and Ms May Yaneza (Monklands General Hospital, Lanarkshire), along with invited talks from ENT registrars and medical students. The conference’s morning lectures included the topics: A career in ENT – from medical school to national selection; Sub-specialisation in ENT; and ENT – past, present and future. A panel discussion then followed where attending lecturers were invited to discuss questions proposed by the audience. The afternoon provided medical students the opportunity to experience clinical aspects of ENT: performing flexible nasendoscopy, ENT examination, suturing and knot-tying skills, and improving knowledge of the management of epistaxis, and ENT anatomy.
“In the current climate when ‘exposure’ in many medical schools is very limited, this kind of initiative should be established and supported through our specialty association and I am pleased that SFO UK and ENT Scotland have given their seal of approval.’’
Feedback from attendees indicated that the conference was well-received by all. It provided an excellent opportunity for enthusiastic medical students to network, gain opportunities to participate in future research projects, and attend further academic ENT meetings. This was the first ENT conference in Scotland organised and attended by medical students. As a result, it has received the endorsement of Nirmal Kumar, President-Elect of ENT UK. Who commented, ‘‘I have great pleasure in commending and applauding the efforts of Mr Aishan Patil in setting up and delivering an introduction to ENT at student level under the auspices of the University of Glasgow. The programme was excellent in informing the students and introducing them to otolaryngology as a specialty. In the current climate when ‘exposure’ in many medical schools is very limited, this kind of initiative should be established and supported through our specialty Association and I am pleased that SFO UK and ENT Scotland have given their seal of approval’’.
It is hoped that the success of the UGENTS first meeting will continue into the future and, in so doing, encourage more medical students to consider ENT as a career.
Author: Thomas Daniel Milner.
We would love to hear from you about recruitment and training in your country.
Please contact the section editor, Natasha Amiraraghi, for possible future features.
Prizes are useful additions to your CV, demonstrating both a commitment to a surgical career and achievement of excellence. Winning is not necessary for inclusion – being short-listed or getting any kind of placing will still be a CV boost.
The Annual Professor Harold Ellis Medical Student Prize For Surgery
This prestigious national award is open to all UK medical students and the winner receives a prize of £500. The surgical society at the universities of the three prize winners will also receive £100 each. We are not currently accepting entries for this prize.
The 2015 guidance and regulations are available for information. Please send any queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The topic for the 2015 essay competition was: 'Is public health a surgical concern? The role of the surgeon in promoting healthy lifestyles'. Short-listed candidates were invited to give a five minute presentation on "The Role of Social Media for Modern Surgeons".
- Owen Davis of University of Keele - Owen's presentation
- Molly Nielsen of University of Newcastle - Molly's presentation
- Richard Bartlett of University College London - Richard's presentation
- Jacob King of Peninsula - Jacob's presentation
- Michael Bath of Leicester - Michael's presentation
- John Eraifej of Birmingham - John's presentation
- Elizabeth Redman of UCL - Elizabeth's presentation
- Wei Cheang of Dundee University - Wei's presentation (joint)
- James Baggott of Kings College London - James' presentation (joint)
Read a report of the 2014 prize day written by the joint second prize winners.
- David Ferguson of University of Leicester
- Ibrahim Sheriff of Kings College London
- James Glasbey of Cardiff University
- Maral Rouhani of Cambridge University - Presentation | Notes
- Mueez Waqar of Liverpool University - Presentation | Notes
- Emma Keohane of Barts and the London - Emma's presentation | Notes (joint)
- Jason Yuen of Oxford University - Presentation | Notes (joint)
Many medical schools and surgical societies also run competitions for students. If you run a prize for students and you would like us to include it in this list please email us.
What to read next
Careers Medical student