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Is undergraduate medical education working for ENT surgery? A survey of UK medical school graduates

  • J Powell (a1), F A H Cooles (a2), S Carrie (a1) and V Paleri (a1)



Despite the patient numbers and scope of ENT surgery, it is under-represented in most undergraduate medical curricula.


An online questionnaire was e-mailed, at National Health Service trust level, to 3544 newly qualified doctors from 30 UK medical schools. Undergraduate ENT exposure, confidence and educational value were measured on a Likert scale.


We received 444 eligible responses. The mean undergraduate ENT exposure was 3.4 days of pre-clinical teaching plus 5.0 days of ENT departmental experience. However, 15.8 per cent of respondents reported no formal departmental ENT experience, and 65.8 per cent would have liked further undergraduate experience. Teaching modalities with a lower perceived educational value were generally offered more frequently than those with a higher perceived educational value. Graduates felt significantly less confident with ENT history-taking, examination and management, compared with their cardiology clinical competencies (p < 0.001).


These results highlight the lack of UK ENT undergraduate education, and the significant effect this has on junior doctors’ clinical confidence. In addition, commonly used teaching methods may not be optimally effective.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Mr J Powell, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Freeman Hospital, Freeman Road, High Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE7 7DN, UK Fax: +44 (0)191 223 1246 E-mail:


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Is undergraduate medical education working for ENT surgery? A survey of UK medical school graduates

  • J Powell (a1), F A H Cooles (a2), S Carrie (a1) and V Paleri (a1)


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