Clinical experience in this department is intense. Residents must be highly committed to maximizing all available learning opportunities. In addition to operative experience, clinical responsibilities include evaluation and diagnosis of patients in the outpatient, inpatient and emergent setting; pre- and post-operative care; and systems-based patient management. Residents have the opportunity to follow patients longitudinally, providing an opportunity for critical assessment of outcomes. This training applies progressive responsibility based on each individual’s level of education, experience and competence. Residents develop medical decision-making and surgical skills under the guidance of expert faculty physicians who are at the forefront of their respective specialties.
Focus on Surgical Experience
A high volume of surgical procedures is a notable strength of the Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Residency program at IU School of Medicine. Upon completion, a resident will have performed approximately 2,500 cases in comprehensive otolaryngology services and specialties within a very diverse patient population.
A resident’s initial surgical experience—routine myringotomy, adenoidectomy, tonsillectomy and tracheotomy—is soon supplemented with participation in endoscopic surgery and an increasing role in major head and neck procedures and otology cases. An emphasis on hands-on instruction allows each resident to gain experience in patient care and to begin crafting his or her surgical skills immediately. Residents are challenged to participate in the process of intraoperative decision-making and are considered active members of the treatment team.
The otolaryngology residency program includes five years beyond graduation from medical school. In year one, residents focus on general surgery residency at IU Health University Hospital and affiliated hospitals. For the remaining 48 months, resident training in Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery occurs in hospitals affiliated with the IU School of Medicine in Indianapolis.
During the program, each resident rotates through the Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery services at IU Health University Hospital, Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital, Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Hospital and outpatient clinics. Clinical experience varies at the different sites, but residents have substantial operative involvement and are responsible for monitoring pre- and postoperative care. In some locations, residents may encounter a concentration of tertiary-care problems and procedures with opportunities to follow patients over time and assess outcomes of various interventions. At the VA Hospital, residents assume considerable responsibility for patient management and gain experience with a wide spectrum of otolaryngologic disorders.
Each hospital has an active, multidisciplinary tumor board and residents participate in weekly Head and Neck combined modality tumor conferences and clinics. This provides opportunity to interact one-on-one with oncologists, radiation oncologists and oral surgeons, and to see patients referred to faculty head and neck surgeons. Otology clinics at the various locations are supervised but allow residents greater autonomy and decision-making opportunities.