Report by Chang Woo Lee, Foundation Year Trainee, South Thames Deanery, UK.
A group of undergraduate students and foundation trainees interested in ENT came from all over the country to attend the 1st East of England Undergraduate & Foundation Otolaryngology Conference on 6 October. The day began with Professor Manohar Bance delivering a thought-provoking lecture exploring the limitations faced by the current medical research practice. He went onto discuss the importance of diagnostics in ENT practice, emphasising the fact that without a correct diagnosis and understanding of the pathophysiology, the best treatment can never be developed.
The conference offered a fantastic programme for the delegates. A wide range of interactive workshops ran by passionate ENT surgeons were offered, covering clinical topics, career progression, global health and research. The day ended with Professor Carl Philpott delivering a lecture with Duncan from Fifth Sense, a charity for people affected by smell and taste. Reflecting on Prof Philpott’s experience in treating patients with anosmia as a clinician, and Duncan’s experience as a patient, the lecture reminded the delegates of the importance of putting patients first in clinical practice. The important role of patient involvement in clinical research to improve patient care was also discussed.
I personally had a pleasant surprise of being awarded the best poster presentation prize at this conference for my work on exploring a new role for a student-run society to improve the current undergraduate ENT education. Under-exposure of the specialty at an undergraduate level is a well-known issue. Students don’t feel as confident when it comes to ENT compared to other specialties. ENT UK and the ENT surgeons have identified this problem and they are working hard to improve the current situation. I thought students too, could do something to help for the benefits of the specialty, the students and ultimately the patients.
As a foundation trainee aspiring to join the specialty one day, the conference reminded me again the reason why I love this specialty – and I’m confident that I wasn’t the only one. On this note, ASCENT (Advancing Student/Foundation Doctor Collaborations in ENT) made its debut at the conference. Modelled after INTEGRATE, the national ENT trainee research network, ASCENT will be a group to look out for in the future; a true evidence of how the current generation of ENT surgeons are inspiring the future generation.
Conference leads with prize winners, Duncan Boak from Fifth Sense, and Professor Carl Philpott.