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What Is an Orthopedic Surgeon and How to Become One

Orthopedic Surgeon

What Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Do?

Orthopedic surgeons are medical professionals who specialize in the musculoskeletal system, which includes the bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, nerves, tendons, and skin. They examine, diagnose, and treat patients for diseases or injuries of this system.

How to Become an Orthopedic Surgeon

Qualifications to become an Orthopedic Surgeon include a bachelor’s degree, a medical degree, and residency. Participating in internships and enrolling in coursework focused on the sciences during your undergraduate years will increase your chances of getting accepted into medical school. Medical school includes coursework in areas like genetics, physiology, and anatomy, followed by clinical rotations where experience and skills in the primary medical specialties are acquired. Before residency, you must pass a three-part national exam. The first two years of residency typically focus on general surgery, with the final years on the orthopedic surgery specialty. After two years of practice following residency, you can pursue a certification exam from the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons.

Where Can I Find Jobs for Orthopedic Doctors?

Orthopedic surgeons work in medical facilities, either in private practice, hospitals, or clinics. When first starting out, many orthopedic doctors join an established practice to gain work experience. Once they have worked for several years, some choose to leave their current practice and start a private practice of their own.

What Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Do on a Daily Basis?

Orthopedic surgeons spend part of their workday consulting with patients in the office and the rest of their time in the operating room. The orthopedic surgeon examines patients, educates them on their condition, and then determines the best treatment plan for that disease or injury, which may include medication, exercise, or surgery. Many orthopedic surgeons specialize in a particular part of the body, such as the spine, knee, or feet and ankles. When in surgery, orthopedic surgeons perform many different procedures, such as arthroscopy一a process that uses specialized cameras and equipment to diagnose and treat issues inside a joint, and internal fixation-a method to hold broken pieces of bone in their proper position using metal plates, pins, or screws until the bone is healed. Orthopedic surgeons are also often on-call and may be called into the hospital for emergency surgeries due to car accidents or other traumas.

What Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Education Entail?

An orthopedic surgeon must complete approximately fourteen years of formal education. They must earn a bachelor’s degree in a science field, then complete medical school. Once they complete their degrees, they must acquire an orthopedic residency that lasts five years. Many choose to specialize in a particular area of orthopedic surgery, which means an additional year of training in a fellowship program.

How to Become an Orthopedic Doctor?

To become an orthopedic doctor, you must follow a similar education path as other physicians. Earn a bachelor’s degree in the sciences and go to medical school. Following medical school, complete an orthopedic residency; should you choose to specialize, continue training in a fellowship program. Once you are done with the training programs, you must pass the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery (ABOS) or the American Osteopathic Board of Orthopedic Surgery (AOBOS) exam to be eligible for licensing. Pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensure Examination (COMLEX) to earn your license to practice medicine. These exams evaluate a doctor’s knowledge of their trade. Research the licensing qualifications in the state in which you wish to work.

Orthopedic Surgeon Job Description Sample

With this Orthopedic Surgeon job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for a Orthopedic Surgeon role.

Job Summary

We are seeking a highly-skilled, experienced orthopedic surgeon to join our growing medical team. Our ideal candidate will be deeply committed to patient well being, completely current on the latest techniques and practices in the orthopedic discipline, and have an exceptional ethical record. You must thrive in a fast-paced, collaborative environment and have an excellent bedside manner.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Conduct patient interviews and assessments to verify medical history
  • Order and interpret necessary diagnostic tests such as MRIs, X-rays, and bloodwork
  • Recommend treatments such as therapeutic exercise, nutrition, and other non-invasive solutions
  • Perform surgical procedures to realign/mend broken bones
  • Prescribe pain medications
  • Create and articulate care plans for patients returning from surgery
  • Educate and supervise student residents
  • Complete accurate charting, ensuring that medical records are documented in a timely fashion

Requirements and Qualifications

  • MD or DO degree and successful orthopedic surgical residency
  • Current good standing as a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Minimum 5 years' experience as an orthopedic surgeon
  • Proven success with all relevant surgeries
  • Tactful ability to communicate sensitive information to families and guardians
  • Exceptional patient management, listening, and relational skills
  • Analytical mindset, coupled with a commitment to patient well being
  • Aptitude for problem-solving and working under pressure
  • Exceptional communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Commitment to compliance with all laws and hospital policies