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A systematic review of factors affecting choice of otolaryngology as a career in medical students and junior doctors

  • A W Mayer (a1), K A Smith (a1) and S Carrie (a1)



There is growing concern over a future shortfall in provision of UK otolaryngology consultants. There is a declining rate of applications to otolaryngology specialty training in the UK.


This study aimed to systematically review the literature to establish what factors influence medical students’ and junior doctors’ decision to pursue a career in otolaryngology.


Medline, Embase and PubMed databases were searched in January 2019. Additional manual reference checks of identified literature were performed.


Eleven articles were included in the review. Common factors that positively influenced the decision to pursue a career in otolaryngology were exposure to the specialty, positive role models and a good work-life balance. Lack of exposure was a consistent deterrent from pursuing a career in otolaryngology.


This review reiterates the need for greater exposure to otolaryngology in the undergraduate curriculum. In addition, mentorship for students with an interest in otolaryngology should be a priority.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Dr Alasdair W Mayer, ENT Department, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle upon Tyne NE7 7DN, UK E-mail: Fax: +44 191 223 1246


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Mr A W Mayer takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper

Presented at the National ENT Teaching Conference, 29th April 2019, Nottingham, UK.



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A systematic review of factors affecting choice of otolaryngology as a career in medical students and junior doctors

  • A W Mayer (a1), K A Smith (a1) and S Carrie (a1)


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