A Week in the Life of a DCT: OMFS at Royal Sussex County with Charlotte Snewin

So here is another entry for this year's DCT competition by Charlotte Snewin...
Charlotte, DCT1 in OMFS in Brighton
Hello! I’m Charlotte and I am currently a DCT1 in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, in Brighton. I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Bristol, before carrying out my DFT year in KSS South. I then decided I loved Brighton (my hometown) so much that I stayed another year to undertake an OMFS DCT1 post in order to work on improving my surgical skills and ability to deal with high pressure scenarios. This OMFS post has certainly put that to the test!

Most mornings I arrive at work 7:30am, giving me time to grab a cuppa and bite to eat before ward round at 8am. This is led by the on-call DCT, but everyone helps out to ensure it runs smoothly. Teamwork makes the dream work!


In the morning I have a treatment clinic. This can range from biopsies to surgical extractions. The staff are on hand to help but as the months have progressed, I find myself gaining more confidence. That and knowing I have a team of experts next door to me!

Afternoon is an emergency treatment clinic – essentially A&E dentistry!


Head and neck cancer theatre list all day. Assisting for lifesaving cancer treatment is something I’d never seen before my DCT year. Dodging the blood squirts and directly assisting our fantastic OMFS consultants. There truly is no better way to understand head and neck anatomy, although free flaps and neck dissections are not for the faint hearted. The delicate work undertaken by our OMFS surgeons during the microvascular surgery of radial forearm free flaps is such a fine art and fascinating to watch.

Depending on our rota for the week, there are also paediatric theatre lists running, which includes extracting teeth and exposure and bonding of canines.


Head and Neck MDT and cancer clinics – This is where people from all specialities in the hospital discuss patient treatments and outcomes to ensure the best care is provided to them. This week was particularly emotionally tough as I discovered a patient younger than myself was diagnosed with oral SCC. The clinics can be challenging at times, particularly when witnessing consultants breaking bad news to patients.


Day case theatre lists includes a range of treatments including arthrocentesis, surgical third molar extractions and cyst removals under GA.


Friday mornings consist of a group teaching ward round and study club.

Finishing the week off with face-to-face clinics, where instead of being a DFT referring in patients the role is reversed, and you’re on the receiving end.

No weekend work in this post.

1 in 4 weeks I’m on call, which is probably the most challenging yet rewarding experience I’ve had in my career so far. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle rucksack on and I’m off! One minute you’re incising and draining a swelling in A&E and the next you’re in theatre stitching up a laceration on a young child. The week is truly a rollercoaster ride.

Charlotte, ready for her oncall duties
I’ve learnt so much about how hospitals function and gained so much respect for our medical colleagues. Working in the midst of a global pandemic has shown me the true grit and determination of our NHS staff. I would definitely recommend doing a DCT OMFS post. You will learn a great deal of surgical skills and professionalism. For me this post put things into perspective, as we tend to worry so much about being a heroic saviour of teeth that we forget the bigger picture of life.

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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