Otorhinolaryngology (or otolaryngology, as it is commonly known), is the study of ear, nose, and throat (ENT) conditions. It is the one of the oldest medical specialties in the world, and forms a significant part of both community as well as Hospital practice.

The head and neck region contains a number of our sense organs; hence ENT surgeons deal with problems affecting hearing, balance, taste and smell. So also this part of our body forms an interface between the external world and our internal environment; hence it is often affected by infections and inflammatory conditions.

Since the head/face/neck forms a visible portion of our bodies, surgeons must be cognisant of the cosmetic aspects of their interventions. For the same reason, procedures such as nose and ear re-shaping form a part of their work-load.

Otolaryngologists treat children with a range of problems such as tonsillitis and glue ear, up to airway abnormalities. Adult patients are often treated for sinus infections, age-related hearing loss, and occasionally cancers of the head and neck.

In Ireland, otolaryngology is a small but vibrant speciality, with a structured training programme. There are several meetings and courses held throughout the year, and research is encouraged.

Training Pathway

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4
Training Level Medical School Intern Year Core Training in Surgery Higher Specialist Training in Otolaryngology
Duration 4-6 years 1 year 2 years 6 years
Entry Process Graduate or direct entry Entry through the HSE Intern Match Entry based on competitive interview Entry based on on-going assessment (CAPA), successful completion of the MRCS exam and Specialty Interview
Mandatory Examinations As per curriculum N/A MRCS Exam FRSC
Application Date CAO process opens in November Application process opens in October Application process opens in November
Programme Operated by: Undergraduate Universities Intern Networks RCSI RCSI

The Higher Specialist Training Programme in Otolaryngology is administered by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

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