For those seeking to embark on the path to becoming an orthopedic surgeon, below is a brief “how to” guide for the osteopathic student, outlining the necessary steps to get to fourth year auditions and to ultimately match. This general guideline is what to expect as you progress through your training. This is by no means comprehensive but it serves as a nice template for those who are exploring and those who wish to begin mapping their paths.
M1 Year: Academic Foundation
- Do well in classes and learn to take exams under high pressure and with little rest.
- Begin looking into orthopedic shadowing (list of local mentors can be found in the student resources section of the SAOAO website.
- Learn your anatomy, this serves as an orthopedic backbone.
- Learn to read orthopedic literature by seeking out case studies or poster opportunities, or even research projects.
- Attend local fracture conferences if such an opportunity is available to you locally.
M2 Year: Clinical Foundation and Boards
- Develop strong clinical skills, as becoming a good surgeon requires being a good doctor first.
- Start looking into potential residency programs of interest and their requirements.
- A list of ACGME accredited programs can be found at https://apps.acgme.org/ads/public/. This concise list of traditional osteopathic programs undergoing accreditation is to be co-published with White Coat Coaching this fall! (refer to resources section below)
- Prepare, study, and crush your board examinations (COMLEX Level 1 +/- USMLE Step 1).
- Seek out research opportunities if this is of interest to you (highly recommended).
M3 Year: Become a Solid Clinician, Apply for Auditions
- As you navigate through your core rotations, learn to become a proficient clinician, this will go a long way for your future patients.
- In January of your M3 year, you will begin emailing programs regarding interest in pursuing an audition rotation.
- Applications are generally submitted through VSAS, Clinician Nexus, or directly to the program’s student coordinator.
- Audition rotations are elective rotations which are typically done at your prospective residency programs.
- Again – prepare, study, and crush your board examinations (COMLEX Level 2 +/- USMLE Step 2).
M4 year: Auditions, Residency Applications, Interviews, and Match
- Audition rotations are where you get to really develop your orthopedic knowledge.
- Highly recommended: Use a few resources to prepare before you start (see a list of student favorite resources below).
- Fill out your residency application on ERAS, write your personal statement, collect letters of recommendation, and apply to your choice of programs.
- Practice, then nail the interviews.
- Match in March of M4 year!
Favorite Student Foundational Orthopedic Resources
- AOAO Student Section and then log in. This fall SAOAO, along with WCC, is releasing an updated list of traditionally osteopathic programs who are undergoing ACGME accreditation. Stay tuned!
- White Coat Coaching (whitecoatcoaching.com)
- Netter’s Concise Orthopaedic Anatomy, Updated Edition, 2e (Netter Basic Science)
- Orthobullets (orthobullets.com)
- Pocket Pimped: Orthopedic Surgery, 1500 Questions You WILL Be Asked
- Handbook of Fractures
Student Tracks at Upcoming Annual Fall Meeting, October 24-26 in Colorado Springs
- Student research workshops
- Learn how to perform effective literature searches
- Learn how to write an abstract
- Learn how to make an orthopedic research poster
- Student and resident research presentations
- Support the digital poster competition (abstract submission date passed in June 2019)
- Suturing and splinting workshops
- Learn the foundations of suture materials, and suturing and casting techniques
- Work with residents on skills
- Conferences foster a great environment for networking with fellow students, residents, and attendings
- Meet students, residents, and program directors you might see along the audition trail
- Mentorship Round Robin
- Meet and greet residents and orthopedic surgeons who are interested in establishing a mentorship
Student members, register now!
Leadership Opportunities Through the Student AOAO Board: Developing Your Strategy
Run for a board position and build your leadership skills as an officer of SAOAO. Available positions include:
- President (SAOAO President simultaneously serves as a non-voting member of the AOAO Board Of Directors)
- Vice President
- Conference Chair
- Recruitment Chair
If interested in serving or have questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.