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Fundamentals of Otolaryngology

Updated: 8/29/19

There are no prerequisites, but familiarity with sterile procedures and the operating room are helpful. Due to the limited number of rotating students the department can accept, priority will be given to M4s doing career electives during peak recruitment season (June-November). During this time, you will be placed on a waitlist and will be alerted of space for the elective 5 weeks prior to the start of the rotation.

This rotation is a means for medical students regardless of career paths to increase their exposure to Otolaryngology. ENT complaints are some of the most common issues that patients raise to their physicians. Medical students who are interested in receiving subspecialty education on ear, nose and throat complaints will increase their ability to manage these conditions  whether they go on to primary care or other specialty. This rotation is also recommended for students considering otolaryngology as a career choice to help them confirm their choice and initiate faculty mentorship. The basic skills needed to perform a thorough head and neck examination will be demonstrated and students can gain exposure to pathologic disease processes.  Students will be assigned clinic and operating room experiences to become familiar with general Otolaryngology but may observe some subspecialty practices.

Students on this elective are expected to play a role in the inpatient care, outpatient clinic and in operating room procedures. Students will be introduced head and neck. In the outpatient clinic, students may observe some basic endoscopic evaluation (rhinoscopy, flexible fiberoptic examinations).

In the operating room, students will be taught the basic operative techniques needed for maintenance of sterility, closure of surgical wounds, and prevention of complications. Because many of the areas in the head and neck have a very small working area, students are not scrubbed for all procedures, but endoscopic procedures are typically displayed on monitors.


  • Perform a general head and neck examination;
  • Recognize common disease states in the head and neck;
  • Be able to initiate appropriate differential diagnosis and parts of the work-up for common head and neck disorders;
  • Understand medical management of common disease states;
  • Perform procedures to manage common disease states such as epistaxis, simple lacerations, nasal fractures, ear wax, tonsillitis/pharyngitis and tracheostomy problems.

We also expect that students will demonstrate professionalism, cultural competence and will display appropriate interactions with patients.

This elective program includes student participation in outpatient and inpatient care of Otolaryngology-HNS patients. Students on the elective will be expected to play a pro-active role in care and management of Otolaryngology inpatients.  Students perform history and physical examinations, form initial differential diagnoses, develop a plan for further work-up of disease processes and suggest proper management. As unique diseases arise, students are asked to perform literature research to gain a deeper understanding of the disease process encountered. Students may be asked to present a patient to an attending in clinic and should anticipate questions so that the student is able to justify management decisions.  Students are provided with reading/online resources for self-directed study.

Student performance is evaluated by house staff and attending faculty with exposure to the student using the standard College of Medicine Clerkship Evaluation form. Knowledge and skills are rated during patient care situations and throughout the course of students’ didactic discussions with various faculty members.

Administrative Information Heading link

  • Program Number

    ELEC 343

  • Program Contacts

    Program Coordinator: Caroline Simpson
    Phone: 312-996-4347

  • Program Information

    Location: UI Health

    Duration:  2 weeks
    Night Call:  No
    Weekends:  No
    Students Accepted:  0 Min / 3 Max
    House staff used as Faculty: Yes
    Inpatient / Faculty Contact: Yes
    Laboratory / Independent Study:  5
    Outpatient:  No
    Inpatient:  Yes
    Total Hours / Week: 40

  • Reporting Instructions

    Report to the coordinator at 1855 W. Taylor, EEI, Room 242.

    Reporting Time:  9:00 am