Working life (otorhinolaryngology)

This page provides useful information on the working week as well as any on call and other commitments, along with information on who you will work with. The attractions and challenges of the job are also in this section.

“Being an ENT surgeon can be fascinating, every day is different. I spend time in adult or paediatric clinics and  ENT casualty clinics. There are Theatre lists for adult patients and for children. The surgery can include working with endoscopes or microscopes and often there are aids to ensure accuracy with the surgery including computerised navigational aids that work with endoscopes and CT scans. Implantable hearing devices can mean that patients can start to hear where they have been profoundly deaf before surgery.”  Consultant ENT Surgeon, West Midlands.

How your time is spent

ENT surgeons spend a higher proportion of their time in outpatient clinics and less time in surgery than other surgeons.  Patients needing surgery are often seen as day-patients. Surgery is usually elective and emergency cases are often seen during the day.

You might perform about three operations during an average half-day in theatre, and see between eight and twelve patients in a morning or afternoon outpatients’ clinic.

Operations can range from simple procedures that only take 15 minutes, such as grommet insertion to more complex head and neck reconstructive surgery that might last 12 hours. Complex procedures will involve working closely with a range of other specialists.

Any surgical post also involves its share of administrative work – ranging from writing letters to GPs and patients to attendance at departmental and multidisciplinary meetings.

ENT surgeons are also involved with teaching junior colleagues including medical students and often attend national and international conferences.

tional conferences.

On call and working hours

On call demand within ENT surgery is not as high as that required in other surgical specialties, making it easier to achieve a good work-life balance.

The EU Working Time Directive limits the working week to 48 hours. It is also possible to work part-time once you are consultant, or to train on a less than full-time (LTFT) basis (conditions apply). Read more about LTFT

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