Am J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg | Volume 5, Issue 3 | Research Article | Open Access

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Otorhinolaryngology Trainees: A Nationwide Cross- Sectional Survey

Gagandeep Singh Mann*, Revadi Govindaraju and Narayanan Prepageran

Department of Otorhinolaryngology, University Malaya, Malaysia

*Correspondance to: Gagandeep Singh Mann 

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Background: The emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 illness or commonly known as the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) that began in 2019 has affected the way hospitals function. By focusing on the management of the pandemic, most hospitals have to reduce the number of elective surgical procedures as well as outpatient clinic numbers. Indirectly, this affects the training of future specialists who require clinical experience as well as surgical exposure as part of their training. We wanted to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the training and surgical exposure of the postgraduate Otorhinolaryngology (ORL) trainees in Malaysia. Our secondary objective was to assess the psychological effects of the pandemic on these postgraduate ORL trainees.

Methodology: We performed a Cross sectional study utilizing a web based self-questionnaire with Google forms ( The survey was conducted among Malaysian postgraduate trainees in the field of Otorhinolaryngology from the first until the final (4th) year. The questionnaire was distributed in the form of a direct link to the form, sent out to the mobile phones of all ORL postgraduate masters students in Malaysia.

Results: Demographic data collected amongst the respondents revealed 50 female and 44 male respondents. 17 (18.1%) participants were between the ages of 29 and 32, while a majority 81.9% participants were older than 32 years. 47.8% of the postgraduate candidates experienced a reduction in the number of patients that they were seeing in the outpatient clinics. 60.7% of the respondents agreed that there was a reduction in the number of inpatient Otorhinolaryngology patients that they were seeing during the pandemic. 83% of the postgraduate students experienced a reduction surgical experience and cases during the pandemic. 74.5% of the students agreed that clinical bedside teaching reduced during the pandemic. 68% of the postgraduate students are anxious about the COVID pandemic and its effects on their overall training program. 61% of the respondents described feeling down and low since the pandemic started.

Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the way teaching and training is conducted for the ORL postgraduate candidates. Most of the candidates report a reduction in outpatient, inpatient and surgical exposure compared to the period prior to the pandemic. This also has led to psychological strain on these postgraduate candidates. Measures should be taken to address their concerns and improve the clinical experience to ensure they do not lose out on important training in order to specialize.


COVID-19; Postgraduate training Otorhinolaryngology; Malaysia


Mann GS, Govindaraju R, Prepageran N. The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Otorhinolaryngology Trainees: A Nationwide Cross-Sectional Survey. Am J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2022; 5(3): 1178..

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