Report by: Chon Meng Lam, Foundation year one doctor, Cardiff, UK and Rukmini Ghosh, Junior Clinical Fellow, Derby, UK.
The 2019 Student and Foundation Doctors in Otolaryngology (SFO-UK) annual conference was held this year at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. One of the first speakers at the conference was Ameera Abdelrahim who founded the conference five years ago to provide aspiring ENT surgeons with exposure to ENT that was difficult to obtain elsewhere. This certainly was the theme of the conference this year with lectures, workshops and clinical skills sessions being tailored to be suitable to those at all stages of medical school and foundation training.
For medical students there were presentations about the ENT elective prize that SFO-UK offer as well as free paper presentations from those who presented projects that were done during a student selected component module and intercalated degree. For trainees closer to the applications for further training there were specific sessions for those looking to finalise their portfolios as well as talks providing key information about the run through training programme and academic pathway. As foundation doctors, this was particularly useful as it provided up-to-date information and gave delegates a chance to clarify any questions regarding the run through training programme of which there were many!
Upon entry into the main hospital we were greeted with a commanding view of academic posters.
Reading posters and networking over a buffet lunch separated the morning lecture-based sessions and an afternoon of skills stations. These stations enabled everyone to get hands on experience of a range of procedures common to the specialty. The smaller group atmosphere allowed for more time to get a handle of new instruments and equipment, as well as being able to gain handy tips and learn from the experiences of those running the sessions. The sessions included dix-Hallpike test and Epley manoeuvre, and nasoendoscopy, with the opportunity in both sessions to perform and experience the procedures.
The rhinoplasty station made good use of models to understand the reconstructive nature of the surgery, and management of epistaxis allowed delegates to learn the stepwise approach to a common ENT emergency. Another station covering cricothyroidotomy was also useful to understand an option for management in airway emergencies.
The day ended with the announcement of the winners for poster and oral presentation prizes. Overall it was an inspiring and enjoyable day, aimed well at a mix of medical students and foundation doctors with appropriate topics for all. The encouragement and advice given was appreciated by all and really showcased the variety offered by the specialty.
The station for grommet insertion gave us the opportunity to use skills to work within confined spaces with different equipment, which also came in handy for the tonsil tying session.