A Week In The Life of A DCT: OMFS at Luton & Dunstable with Hafsa Malik

So here is another entry for this year's DCT competition by Hafsa Malik...
Hafsa, a DCT1 in OMFS at Luton & Dunstable Hospital

Hi! I’m Hafsa and I graduated from Barts and the London in 2019 and spent my foundation year in Buckinghamshire. I currently work with 11 other DCTs in the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) Department at Luton & Dunstable Hospital, which serves over 350,000 people in the region.

This job is never boring - we have a 12-week rota that takes us to Bedford and Milton Keynes University Hospitals too. With 12.5 hour on calls, weekend theatre & night shifts galore, here’s a glimpse of one week in the life...


I live close to the hospital but somehow still run late every morning, so I eat my toast as I walk to work. I’m on-call from 8am-8pm, so at morning handover I take the dreaded bleep from the night DCT and head to ward round with the consultants. Our patients are stable so I have a relatively chilled day, visiting A&E to suture lacerations on kids, drain dental abscesses and review an elderly lady who fell down the stairs.


Due to the pandemic, elective theatre lists are cancelled so I spend the morning updating my portfolio, which is used to monitor our progress throughout the year. In the afternoon, I help on clinic seeing new patients who have been referred in by dentists and GPs for extractions, soft tissue pathology, and more.


Although elective cases are cancelled, cancer operations are not. I assist a consultant in a partial glossectomy on a patient with Squamous Cell Carcinoma of her tongue - it was gory but fascinating to assist in such an amazing surgery.


One of the trust-grade doctors has minor oral surgery (MOS) list under local anaesthetic which I was helping with, so I performed some extractions, biopsies, and more. It’s hard to explain the extreme satisfaction of excising a fibroepithelial polyp and closing the wound neatly with sutures, but if you know, you know!


A day off as I am working this weekend, so I treat myself to a lie-in, then tune in to our online weekly teaching sessions. With the consultants, we run through the cases that the on-call DCTs have seen in A&E this week. This is a great opportunity to learn from each other and see what everyone else has been up to for the last 7 days.

Saturday & Sunday

On-call! A bright 8am start as I receive handover and head straight to theatre on both days. On Saturday, I suture up the forehead of a 3 year old who ran into a TV cabinet. On Sunday, I assist my senior in repairing a lady’s fractured parasymphysis. During nights and weekends, we take calls from emergency dentists, GPs and 4 different busy A&Es in the region, so on-calls can be very busy! I spent the rest of my weekend attending to ward patients and visiting A&E to assess every patient who comes in with an OMFS concern.

To describe an OMFS job as a steep learning curve is an understatement, but the staff are so friendly and there are 12 DCTs in total so you’re never alone here! It’s busy and my step count has never been higher, but the skills I’ve gained here will help me in every job I work in the future, without a doubt!

To ENTER YOUR SUBMISSION: email your submission via the contact page on the blog - DEADLINE February 28th 2021

Do you have any questions about DCT or the competition ? Let me know in the comments below. 

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