The value of theatre attendance by undergraduates is uncertain. This study aimed to evaluate the perceived benefits of attending operating theatre sessions during undergraduate otolaryngology attachments. The study comprised a questionnaire survey carried out in a university medical school. Fourth-year medical students were asked to complete a questionnaire at the end of their two-week attachment in otolaryngology. Completed questionnaires were returned by 152 students. The three most common student expectations were to see and learn common ENT operations, to see the anatomy involved and to learn about the disease being operated upon. Sixty per cent of students reported that their expectations had been met. On a Likert scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree), the importance of theatre attendance as part of the curriculum was rated to be 4.7 (95 per cent confidence interval (CI) = 3.7 to 4.2) and the satisfaction of educational needs in operating theatre teaching was rated to be 3.9 (95 per cent CI = 3.7 to 4.2). Students perceived attending otolaryngology theatre sessions to be beneficial. This information is important in the planning of the otolaryngology undergraduate curriculum.
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