Report By: Christopher Williams, 5th Year Medical Student, University of Cambridge
On 2 March 2019, 30 medical students and foundation doctors gathered at the Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital for a non-profit ENT emergencies course offering a combination of short lectures and practical sessions.
The day started with a brief overview of the basic ABC approach. This served as a reminder of the initial steps in any emergency situation and provided a foundation for the subsequent otology and airway lectures delivered by Mr Joe Manjaly and Miss Paula Coyle. The morning's lectures concluded with a talk on rhinology by Professor Carl Philpott, who discussed the theories behind the management of epistaxis and septal haematoma.
The latter half of the morning saw delegates divide into groups to rotate between several practical skills sessions, including basic otology, epistaxis management, tracheostomy care and flexible nasendoscopy. Taught by specialist registrars, these sessions complemented the earlier lectures and provided what, for many, was a first opportunity to learn ENT-specific procedures.
Following a sandwich lunch, an overview of paediatric ENT was given by Mr Matthew Smith, then delegates put their newly learned skills to the test in a number of simulated clinical scenarios. The course finished with a final multiple-choice exercise, allowing reflection of all that had been learned.
As a medical student aspiring to enter the speciality, the course offered a chance to gain practical experience in ENT and to learn about some of the everyday situations in which trainees may find themselves. Exposure to the field of ENT is limited in the undergraduate curriculum, which makes dedicated teaching and simulation all the more valuable. Crucially, the training provided is useful not just for those wishing to pursue careers in ENT. Identifying and managing emergency ENT presentations may be required at any grade of doctor, in both primary and secondary care. As a glimpse into the nuances of the speciality and an opportunity to practise skills outside the standard curriculum, the Emergency-safe ENT course was an enjoyable and memorable experience that would benefit all medical students, irrespective of their future career plan.