Although traditionally a "dentistry first, medicine second" training route, UK Oral and Maxillofacial surgery is increasingly populated with medicine-first trainees at ST3 level. Despite this, there is little evidence suggesting any increase in exposure at medical undergraduate level. We sought to evaluate the current level of awareness of OMFS as a medical specialty and potential career pathway amongst 'first-degree' medical undergraduates.
We distributed an on-line survey amongst 253 medical undergraduates divided between two UK universities.
A total of 72.3% of undergraduates received no exposure to OMFS in any form. Those with exposure had an improved understanding of the scope of the specialty. Regardless of previous exposure to the specialty, only 27.7% correctly identified the essential requirements for entry in OMFS specialty training. Nevertheless, a vast majority (76.7%) wanted more guidance on the possibility of pursuing a career in OMFS.
Undergraduate exposure to OMFS in UK medical schools is limited. Even a small degree of exposure to OMFS improves understanding of the scope of the specialty. Although medical students do not fully understand the career pathway, they wish to explore OMFS as a career option. It is therefore important that UK undergraduate surgical curricula offer greater exposure to the specialty, the career pathway and the clinical opportunities it can provide.