Medical Student Day in the Life: ENT (Otolaryngology) Rotation

Medical Student Day in the Life: ENT (Otolaryngology) Rotation

Even though the days have been long, they have been filled with some of the most exciting and fun moments I’ve had in medical school! In this post, I’ll be sharing what a day in the life of a medical student on an ENT rotation!


My alarm goes off. I get up, get dress, brew coffee, cook some eggs/toast, throw on some make up, double-check I have everything I need in my bag, and head out the door.


I arrive at the hospital after a 10-15 minute drive. The medical students (there are three of us) help the intern “update the list.” This means we record overnight vital signs/labs/imaging and review nursing notes on all of our patients. Around 5:30am, we start to pre-round on our patients (usually we follow 1-2 patients). As medical students, we’re expected to present our patients on rounds. We present how the patient is doing, pertinent vitals/labs, and proposing a management plan (whether its right or wrong!).


We start resident rounds. There’s a big team of us: 1 chief resident (5th year resident), 1-2 residents from the other years, and 3 medical students. During rounds, we walk around the hospital and see all our patients (usually about 15). Surgery rounds are very different than medicine rounds. Surgery rounds are much more fast-paced. We tend to talk less about our patients (since we already know they’re admitted because of their surgery) and spend more time cleaning wounds, changing dressings, removing sutures/staples/drains. This hour usually flies by!


After rounds, we head over to the pre-operative area to make sure our patients have the correct paperwork and are all ready for surgery. The first surgery usually start at 7AM. Cases can range from shorter 1-2 hours surgeries (like removing a parotid tumor or a tonsillectomy) to longer 6-8 hours (laryngectomy with bilateral neck dissection or a free flap reconstruction). In between surgeries, we try to eat, review pertinent anatomy, do afternoon rounds, or complete any floor work (remove staples/drains, check on our patients).

About 1-2 days a week, medical students spend time in the ENT clinic. This can range from working with a specialist in sinus disorders, voice disorders, head and neck cancer, etc. Usually, the patient’s appointment starts at 8AM, which gives us some time to help out with any tasks the teams need to complete before clinic. In clinic, we can see and present patients or sometimes just accompany (shadow) the attending doctor. Clinic is a great time to spend one-on-one time with attending doctors and to learn about how diseases are worked up/managed.


I typically leave the hospital around 5-5:30pm. Once home, I will jump in the shower, then have dinner. If it’s early enough and I’m not exhausted (usually on clinic days), I will try to work out.


I use this time to prep for the next day. This entails reading about the patients to see why they need surgery and studying pertinent anatomy/ steps to the surgery.


I’m usually exhausted at this point so I call it a night!

Hope you found that helpful! Let me know below if there are any other topics you’d like me to share!


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