Most of the time, otolaryngologists work at hospitals or medical clinics. They may also have their own practice or partner with other otolaryngologists. They must be medical doctors, which means they must have graduated from medical school. They must be competent in treating patients that have diseases or disorders in their ears, noses, and/or throats. They must also be familiar with structures related to the head and neck.
Prior to treating existing patients, they must review their charts or records. They must analyze notes taken by their medical assistants or nurses. They must analyze patients' current vital signs, such as temperature, weight, and blood pressure. They must listen to patients and analyze symptoms that are described by patients. Prior to prescribing medication, they must ask what medicines their patients are currently taking to make sure that drugs do not harmfully conflict with each other. They must have a good bedside manner. They must have excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Some employers prefer that their doctors belong to relevant professional organizations.
They must be up to date with matters relevant to their field by taking classes, reading medical journals, and attending various conferences. They may have to meet with representatives from pharmaceutical companies to inquire further about new drugs that may be beneficial to their patients. They must be willing to be trained to use various medical instruments that are used to treat patients. They may have to travel to attend conferences relevant to their occupation. They may have to mentor or supervise medical interns.
- Provide treatment plans for conditions as varied as hearing loss, allergies, cancer, and disorders of taste and smell.
- Diagnose and rule out conditions, ordering laboratory tests if needed for confirmation.
- Examine patients' ear, nose, throat, sinuses, larynx, and general head and neck areas.
- Perform head and neck surgeries for a variety of conditions.