Sukgi Choi, MD, chair of ACGME’s Otolaryngology Residency Review Committee (RRC), as well as the chief of pediatric otolaryngology at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and otolaryngology professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, agreed. “When we pull residents out of other specialties, this impacts other services’ manpower,” she said. “If you have five residents who all take three months in ENT, the other services are losing 15 months of residents.”
Explore this issue:February 2016
But the benefits of the new curriculum will outweigh the administrative changes necessary, said Dr. Potts. “With the availability of more relevant and non-ENT rotations, the Review Committee believes that the curriculum changes will be viewed as an opportunity.”
Dr. Medina noted that higher level physicians would be affected, too. “The level of supervision needed for PGY-1 residents will be different than for residents in other years,” he said. “They must have direct immediate supervision available. If they are on call, unlike higher level residents, there must be a faculty person, a senior resident, or both available in house, while previously, neither of this level of physician had to be on call, in the hospital, at the same time senior levels are on call.”
The new curriculum calls for a shorter amount of time (four weeks to two months) available to fulfill all nine non-otolaryngology specialties within six months of rotation time. “The real challenge will be how to fit nine very desirable rotations into a six-month period—you can’t,” said Dr. Medina. “Someday, hopefully in the very near future, the powers that be might entertain the possibility of fourth-year medical students who are already matched, to use their last quarter of the fourth year to do a month-long sub-internship in areas such as anesthesia, intensive care, plastics, neurosurgery, and so on, so that they will have that under their belt, and then they can go do another six rotations during PGY-1.”
Ultimately, though, the changes are expected to help strengthen the education for residents, ensuring that training in otolaryngology is both relevant and rewarding. “What we hope to see is that residents in our specialty will be better prepared in their first year to get more benefit out of their subsequent years, with more of an acquisition of skills and knowledge and a focus on our field, rather than on things that won’t be as useful for them to do,” said Dr. Weber.
Cheryl Alkon is a freelance medical writer based in Massachusetts.