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Top Ten Tips for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery SHOs

Post date: 10/09/2014 | Time to read article: 2 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 14/11/2018


After her foundation year Charlotte Leigh applied for a DF2 post in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Charlotte says "I am thoroughly enjoying this post and learning and developing new skills."

"Starting in August was quite daunting because the hospital environment is very different from the foundation practice and dental school."

"I have now been an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery SHO for six months and compiled a list of the ten most important things I have learnt along the way."

  1. The meaning of team work- I am fortunate enough to work with a really lovely team of SHOs, registrars and consultants. You have a lot of A&E patients waiting, a bleep that is going off non-stop: who comes to your aid? Fellow SHO's!
  2. There is a more annoying sound than your alarm clock: the bleep- The sound of the bleep will haunt you even when you aren't on call. You will react to the sound of any bleep going off and automatically look to see who is bleeping you. I have even dreamt about the bleep going off!
  3. Anatomy - so much head and neck anatomy! Thought you were quite good at anatomy? Think again. I have had quite a few grillings...
  4. How to multi-task- This is an essential part of the job role for an SHO, it is compulsory that you can manage everything at once and you are also expected to have the correct answer all the time! I can now answer the phone, talk to a nurse and amend paperwork simultaneously.
  5. Working in a hospital isn't quite like Grey's Anatomy and House- It isn't as glamorous, you always look a lot more tired and the other doctors aren't quite as good looking!
  6. All problems can (usually) be fixed with tea, coffee and sweets- A good proportion of my salary is spent on maintaining my caffeine addiction.
  7. The nurses can and will save you (from a patient, registrar and consultant)- The nurses can make your life a misery but they can also make it much easier. It is important to make friends and keep on their right side.
  8. Language and drawing skills- My artistic skills have greatly improved from drawing the extent of swellings, lacerations and fractures for the clinical notes.
  9. Make up is your best friend (as well as fellow SHO's)- A 12 hour on call shift with no time for lunch, minimal sleep and then a busy day on clinic? Don't want to scare your patients? Make up (I hope) can hide a multitude of sins.
  10. Flat shoes are in (in particular pink crocs for theatre) , heels are out!- We are constantly running between theatres, clinics and A&E. This keeps me fit and saves on the gym membership.

In conclusion I would thoroughly recommend a year in hospital, not only have I learnt new skills and improved my medical knowledge but I have had the opportunity to work with a new (and amazing) team.

I would like to thank all my fellow colleagues for making my year so enjoyable and stimulating.

Charlotte Leigh

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