Otolaryngologists or ENT surgeons specialise in treating diseases of the ear, nose, throat, head and neck. They treat patients of all ages who have problems related to these areas of the body. Maladies or conditions that an ENT surgeon might treat on a regular basis include ear infections, hearing impairment, pain, nerve disorders, ringing in the ears, disorders of balancing rising from the inner ear, nasal blockage, allergies etc. They also treat patients who have difficulty with speech, swallowing, throat infections or swelling in the head or neck due to tumour or infections. ENT surgeons treat all of these areas through the use of medicine and in some cases, surgical procedures.
What do they do?
As an ENT specialist your job will involve diagnosing a patient and examine a patient for any signs of injury or ailment. As an Otolaryngologist you may experience extended work hours and on-call situations that require them to meet the needs of a patient at any time of the day. Thus, you have to be adaptable and able to work well under stressful conditions. You should be able to provide comprehensive care to patients in a team environment working with other medical staff.
- Good coordination and fine manipulative skills together with a thorough knowledge of head and neck anatomy
- ENT surgeons are involved in communication disorders and should themselves be good communicators and sensitive
- Good time management skills are paramount. The workload is frequently huge and this often results in a demanding schedule. You will need to have the capacity to operate effectively under pressure and remain objective in highly pressurised situations
- Excellent problem-solving abilities are very important. You will need to make sound clinical judgments and decisions as to different treatments quickly and accurately. You will need to think beyond the obvious and anticipate situations that may change rapidly
- Ability to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team is vital. The diverse nature of the speciality means that you will work closely with the anaesthetic department, oncology team, palliative care, immunology, respiratory and rheumatology etc
How do I get there?
As a physician, an otolaryngologist is required to obtain a medical degree (MBBS), which takes about five years, followed by postgraduation in otolaryngology. One can also undergo super-speciality training (fellowship).
Typical day in the life of a ENT Surgeons
Pros & Cons about this career
Satisfaction in patient care Advanced research possibilities Comparatively fewer emergencies An opportunity to work with the latest technology
Lot of hard work
Satisfaction in patient care Advanced research possibilities An opportunity to work with the latest technology
Comparatively fewer emergencies Lot of hard work