After completing an American Board of OtolaryngologypHead and Neck Surgery-compliant PGY-1 year of training, otolaryngology residents at Wake Forest School of Medicine spend the following four years gaining comprehensive inpatient training, outpatient training and research experience.
Inpatient Clinical Training
The entire inpatient experience is gained at the main teaching hospital, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, an 885-bed Level I trauma center that serves as the primary academic referral hospital for the western half of North Carolina. We also routinely care for patients from Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and South Carolina. Brenner Children’s Hospital occupies an attached tower on the main medical campus, and the Comprehensive Cancer Center also resides on the main teaching campus.
Within these facilities, there are:
- Separate adult and pediatric emergency departments
- A large surgical suite with 40 operating rooms (including adult inpatient, adult outpatient and pediatric operating areas)
- Multiple subspecialty intensive care units
- Adult day hospital
- Numerous inpatient units
Having all clinical experience on one campus has distinct advantages. Residents can easily participate in the departmental academic curriculum. They get to know each other very well, as they see each other every day, eat meals together and round together. In addition, since the number of faculty is roughly the same as the number of residents, there is ample time for one-on-one interaction between them.
The inpatient clinical services in our department are divided into teams for grouping subspecialties. This forms the basis of collaboration between faculty and residents.
- General otolaryngology
- Facial plastic and reconstructive surgery
- Head and neck cancer
Each service has two to four residents, who round together in teams in the morning and then collaborate with their respective attending physicians.
Generally, residents interact primarily with the attending physicians on their team in the operating room, clinic and inpatient wards. Effort is made to make sure that all residents get a balanced exposure to all of these services during the course of their training.
Surgical experience in our department is extensive and comprehensive. Residents begin to gain experience in the operating room from day one, gradually and consistently developing their skills in performing the full spectrum of surgical procedures in our field.
Total case numbers have traditionally been well above national norms. Graduates are well-equipped to handle the types of surgical problems that typically present to the general practitioner to manage. In addition, the volume of complicated surgical problems managed in our department utilizing the latest technologies including robotics, image guidance, endoscopic and microscopic surgical techniques prepares the trainee to manage complex problems of the head and neck. The well-deserved national reputation of our program makes our graduates attractive applicants to fellowship programs around the country.
Outpatient Clinical Training
The reality is that almost every practicing otolaryngologist spends the majority of time in the outpatient clinic caring for patients. There is a great paradox in current Otolaryngology training in this country that the large majority of time during residency is spent in the inpatient setting and in the operating room. It remains a challenge for all Otolaryngology training programs to prepare their trainees to be fully prepared and comfortable to function in an outpatient care environment. Graduates must possess the readiness to be accountable for the longitudinal care of patients throughout the continuum of clinical care. Graduates from our program are uniquely prepared in this regard.
Otolaryngology residents obtain experience in faculty outpatient clinics and in the resident continuity (aka “OPD”) clinic.