As a medical student, there is plenty of time to develop an interest in ENT. As part of your medical school course, you will have an attachment in ENT usually of around 1-4 weeks. This will give you some exposure to common ENT emergencies, ENT operations and a feel for the speciality as a career.
Organising an elective in ENT can be a fantastic way of gaining more exposure and seeing how ENT is practised around the world. There is also the opportunity for self-selected special study modules and one of these could be in ENT.
Using the initiative to approach an ENT consultant or an ENT trainee and expressing your interest in helping out with a project or ongoing audit is an invaluable way to gain experience in this speciality. If you have an interesting idea for an audit, find someone who is willing to supervise the project.
As a foundation trainee finding the time to attend theatre becomes more difficult because of the demands of a ward-based job and therefore using your time as a student to attend theatre is much advised. Be sure to have revised your anatomy and this will make theatre sessions much more interesting and useful. Seeing the patient pre and post operatively is also useful as you can see how they presented and how they recover post operatively.
You can register with the pan-surgical e-logbook at any training level.
A Career in ENT
For those interested in pursuing a career in ENT. There is a very useful article available in student BMJ which provides valuable information about ENT as a specialty. It has been produced by some members of SFO council and we would like to thank them for allowing us to use the article. It is a very worthwhile reading for anyone interested in gaining insight into a career in ENT.
Click Here to access the article
Doctors wishing to apply to for ENT training go through the common pathway of 2 years as Foundation doctor, followed by 2 years as a Core Surgical Trainee before starting as a registrar in an ST3 ENT training post. The ENT training programme normally starts at ST3 and is typically 6 years in duration, with an opportunity to take higher degrees such as Masters, MD, or PhD programmes in this period. Upon completion of the 6 years, trainees will receive the Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT), and are eligible to apply for consultant jobs. Some trainees may also wish to pursue further subspecialist training in the form of fellowships, which may be taken abroad.
The diagram below summarises the training structure in ENT
The Health Careers website has a summary of Otorhinolaryngology as a career and the training pathway as well as lots of other useful information.
Run Through Pilot in Otolaryngology
This year a run through pilot training scheme is being introduced in some deaneries. Run through training is a programme whereby trainees appointed to ST1 posts in the specialty will continue through to ST8 and certification without further competitive interview or recruitment processes, provided they meet the requirements of the programme and curriculum. Trainees who have decided early in their training that they wish to pursue a career in Otolaryngology may benefit from the opportunity to undertake run through training.
For further information please click here
The ideal situation is to obtain an ENT themed Foundation post although it does not matter too much if you do not obtain such a post at this early stage. Your ranking determines whether you are successful in getting the job you want so work hard to ensure you have additional experience in order to maximise your chances of obtaining an ENT themed rotation.
There are 46 themed ENT CT programmes in the country but not all are occupied at any one time by ENT trainees. Some deaneries have themed posts whereby rotations useful for ENT training are grouped together.
Whilst undertaking core training, you should try and complete MRCS-ENT. This requires taking the MRCS part A and DOHNS OSCE. For further information on MRCS-ENT visit:
There is a national recruitment process for a training number in ENT that takes you through specialist training from ST3 through to ST8. There are approximately 250 STRs in the UK at present.
The Centre for Workforce Intelligence has produced a document on the future of training numbers in Otorhinolaryngology. The purpose of this document is to make recommendations to inform planning for future medical training numbers in Otorhinolaryngology in England over the next few years.
Who is succeeding at ENT ST3?
Academic ENT Training Posts
Doctors with an interest in academic medicine may wish to apply for Academic Clinical Fellowships (ACFs) in ENT. ACF posts are allocated 25% academic time, and 75% clinical time. The academic component is usually allocated in a block of several months. Many ACF trainees use this time to develop the basis for a PhD proposal. Doctors are eligible for this academic pathway after completion of Foundation training, with applications starting from FY2. Some ACF posts are run-through posts meaning there is no further competitive entry until the CCT in Otolaryngology is achieved.
Further information can be found on the Association of Otolaryngologists in Training (AOT) website https://aotent.org/careers/