My last week in orthopedics

One of the reasons why I chose this rotation was how drawn I was to Emergency Medicine. I felt it would strengthen my knowledge base and skills to increase my chances of employment in that area. I also had the opportunity to see a graduated PA working with a doc. My previous experience with a general rotation was, well, miserable, excruciating, and competitive. The team  I was put on previously had TWO residents, TWO fellows, and THREE medical students per physician. So, we got to do nothing in the OR, very little teaching time, and most of the time left to our own devices without very much guidance or mentorship. We rarely if ever got to scrub in.

This rotation, for orthopedics, I scrubbed in and assisted in every single surgery. I saw 20-30 patients at every clinic, with a review and feedback with the physician after EACH case I had seen. I worked on a weekly basis on my goals which my preceptor helped me set and achieve, and I received constructive feedback. By far the most structured learning environment and rewarding rotation (my second last one too!) I’ve had so far. Good teachers are hard to come by.

Upon conclusion of finishing my last week in orthopedic surgery, I feel like I’ve learned a tremendous amount. I love how fast-paced the environment was, the variety of work you get to do – whether it is clinic, the OR watching the surgeon performing cutting-edge techniques, teaching sessions and research – and this was something I didn’t anticipate going into the clinic, just how much I could learn. It was originally a placement I did because I wanted to supplement my knowledge in the context of Family Medicine and ER, but it seems I’ve broadened my horizons a bit and am now considering a possibility of a career in Orthopedics (of course this depends on job opportunities upon graduation).

I definitely got used to seeing a lot of “carpentry” tools in the OR. Things I used to see my dad take out of his tool box in his garage. Surgeon to scrub nurse:  “Mallet, Spectrum, Screw, Anchors, Drill!”  The surgeries were quick too, 1.5 – 2 hours for most routine procedures. I enjoyed and got the hang of retracting, local, staples, stitching. It was a great experience!

The residents and staff were amazing to work with. It’s fantastic being able to work in a high-efficiency, high-yield environment – and this structural organization, attitude and leadership of all members of the team is something I want to take with me.  I knew that I enjoyed this rotation, simply because I just loved coming to the hospital/clinic everyday.

Last rotation is coming up next week before graduation. Can’t believe its so soon!