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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Apr 2014
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Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 12, 2013
First Published: 17:06 IST(12/3/2013)
Last Updated: 17:38 IST(12/3/2013)
Survival of the fittest: ENT surgeons may experience extended work hours and on-call situations. Thus, they need to be adaptable and able to work well under stressful conditions

The lowdown


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. Otolaryngologists 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, they have to be adaptable and able to work well under stressful conditions. They should be able to provide comprehensive care to patients in a team environment working with other medical staff.

Clockwork
An average day of an otolaryngologist or an ENT surgeon can be as follows:
9am to 10am: Ward rounds
10am to 1pm: Conduct out-patient services
1pm to 2pm: Teaching sessions
2pm to 6pm: Operating in OPD
6pm to 8pm: Private clinics

The payoff
The salary of an otolaryngologist or an ENT surgeon majorly depends on seniority and experience of a person. A senior resident can earn Rs. 70,000 a month, a consultant can get anything between Rs. 1 lakh and Rs. 1.5 lakh a month and a senior consultant can earn between Rs. 3 lakh and Rs. 5 lakh a month. The payoff may vary in government hospitals and private hospitals

Skills/TRAITS
* 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

Getting 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)

Institutes and URLs
* Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi www.mamc.ac.in
* All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi www.aiims.edu
* Christian Medical College, Vellore www.cmch-vellore.edu
* Seth GS Medical College, Mumbai www.kem.edu
* Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh pgimer.nic.in

Pros and cons
* Satisfaction in patient care
* Advanced research possibilities
* Comparatively fewer emergencies
* Lot of hard work
* An opportunity to work with the latest technology

Otolaryngology as a speciality gives us an opportunity to utilise cutting-edge technology to improve the quality of life of our patients, from young to old  -- Ameet Kishore, senior consultant surgeon, ENT & neuro-otology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi


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