Report on the Inaugural Post-Grad Cert Course in ENT Skills

My name is Bridgene McGlynn, I am currently a staff nurse in the Outpatients department of Letterkenny University Hospital, and have been upskilling in the area of ENT for the past number of years, including the completion of a number of courses both in Ireland and England. When I heard that the Post-Grad ENT Skills Course was being run once more, after ten years absence, it was of immediate interest to me.

The course, co-ordinated by Professor Camilla Carroll, is a one year course, consisting of three modules. It is run in conjunction with the nursing body at RCSI and course director Ms. Chanel Watson, lecturer at RCSI. The modules I completed were as follows:

1. Interdisciplinary Management of Patients Suffering from Aural Disorders
2. Interdisciplinary Management of Patients Suffering Nasal/ Paranasal Disorders
3. Interdisciplinary Management of Patients Suffering from Throat, Neck and Oral Cavity

The first module was delivered by Prof. Carroll, and was split into two sections:

  1. Anatomy and physiology of the ear and pillar
  2. Diagnosis, treatment and management of common ear conditions

This was initially delivered by online, pre-recorded presentations, then followed up with an online session with Prof. Carroll, where we had a chance to discuss relevant topics, and receive guidance and advice. This session proved to be very informative, and we were all given a chance to speak or ask questions relating to the topic. As it has been a number of years since I have undertaken a course at this level, it was initially slightly daunting, however any worries were quickly put to rest by Prof. Carroll.

Following this, we met physically at RCSI, where we were greeted by Ms. Chanel Watson, who took us to the simulation laboratory, an impressive room, where we were to carry out the practical elements of each module of the course. The morning sessions were set aside for revision, followed by the practicals in the afternoon. On the same day we also met Prof. Michael Walsh, the national lead for ENT in Ireland, who’s friendly and down to earth demeanour put everyone at ease.

The lab was set up for micro-suction of the ears, with an otoscope, suction machine, aural speculum, and the other various instruments required for the practical demonstration of aural suction.

There were a number of different disciplines participating in the course, including nurses from GP practices and hospitals, audiologists and GP’s. The audiologists were to complete the first module only, while the following modules were completed by all other disciplines present.

The second module, related to nasal/paranasal issues, was delivered online by Mr. Shawkat Abdulrahman and Ms. Mona Thornton, who gave a lecture on rhinitis. Like the first module, we then met them at RCSI, where they gave presentations, and afterwards had an opportunity to discuss matters relevant to the topic. In the afternoon session, we used the simulation dummy in the lab to practice nasal packing, using merocele and rapid-rhino dressing.

For the third and final module, relating to neck and oral cavity disorder, Prof. Michael Walsh gave a lecture on the senses, while Prof. Camilla Carroll covered the evaluation of head and neck masses and Mr. Martin Donnelly lectured on the pathophysiology of tonsilitis and associated complications.

Once more, we met at RCSI, where Mr. Donnelly presented and gave advice relevant to the third module. Following this, we used the lab to be instructed on, and perform, naso-endoscopy, examining the neck and oral cavity.

Overall, I found the course extremely informative, and highly enjoyable. Everyone involved in the running of the course was friendly, approachable, and always willing to give help and advice when needed. I am looking forward to putting my newly learned skills and information to use during my ENT clinics, and I would recommend this course to anyone in the same field.