• General otolaryngology;
  • head and neck examination;
  • medical education;
  • Level of Evidence: N/A.



To assess junior medical students' comfort levels in performing the head and neck physical examination (H&NPE) and perception of the importance of otolaryngology—head and neck surgery (OTO-HNS) in medical training before and after undergoing a department-led teaching session.


Anonymous cross-sectional survey study, before and after educational intervention.


One hundred one second-year medical students participated in an H&NPE teaching session as part of their preclinical curriculum. Students first watched a 25-minute H&NPE instructional video. Students then participated in lectures (90 minutes) on OTO-HNS subspecialties and faculty- and resident-led group H&NPE instruction (five to six students each, 90 minutes) with practice on student partners. Students rated their comfort levels (0–5 point Likert scale) in performing the H&NPE and the importance of OTO-HNS rotations throughout medical training before and after the session.


Ninety-five and 77 medical students completed presurveys and postsurveys, respectively. Before the teaching session, students reported an average comfort level of 2.1 in performing the complete H&NPE, which increased to 3.4 (P < .0001) after the session. Similar changes were observed for the individual ear, nose, mouth, and neck exams.


A specialized teaching session significantly improved medical students' comfort levels in performing the H&NPE and increased their awareness of the importance of OTO-HNS in medical training immediately after the session.