Although the educational process is long and often involves an intensive work load, the benefits in both job satisfaction and income are substantial. For anyone with who enjoys both intellectual challenges and working with their hands, orthopaedic surgeon jobs offer rewarding employment.
Training for orthopaedic surgeon jobs begins with a four year college degree followed by four years of medical school. At the completion of medical school the degree of medical doctor is conferred and the future orthopaedic surgeon is ready for residency education. For the orthopaedic surgeon, a residency consists of one year in a general surgery residency followed by four years of an orthopaedic surgery residency. Following residency training many orthopaedic surgeons pursue fellowship training to enhance their skill in a particular area.
Areas of specialty training include hand, shoulder and elbow, total joint reconstruction, pediatric orthopaedics, foot and ankle, sports medicine, spine, and trauma. After completing their training orthopaedic surgeons must pass both written and oral examinations to receive their board certification. At this point most orthopaedic surgeons have begun a private practice either in general orthopaedic surgery or, having completed a subspecialty fellowship, with a large group of orthopaedic surgeons.
Orthopaedic surgery jobs can be quite varied. Some orthopaedic surgeon will spend a great amount of time in the operating room. Surgical repair of many othopaedic injuries is a common and expedient way for the patient to return to health. Other orthopaedic surgeons will spend the majority of their time attending to patients in a clinic setting, making the diagnosis through examination and X-ray studies of the affected area. These orthopaedic surgeons may perform surgery when indicated but they will also prescribe physical therapy if this will heal the abnormality without surgery.
Arthroscopic surgery has become common in orthopaedic surgery. Most orthopaedic surgeons, particularly those who specialize in the care of shoulders and knees will work through a smaller incision or group of incisions with a scope. This allows for rapid healing and faster return to function for the patient. Joint replacement is also common in orthopaedic surgeon jobs dealing with hips and knees.
Some othopaedic surgeon will specialize in sports medicine. In this subspecialty, orthopaedic surgeon jobs center around working with athletes both individually and also with athletic teams. In some aspects of the work, the orthopaedic surgeon will be counsel athletes on ways to prevent injury and ways to improve performance. In the area of sports medicine the orthopaedic surgeon will also diagnose injuries and aid in the rehabilitative process.
A group of orthopaedic surgeons specializing in trauma will work primarily in the hospital. Since trauma, especially in the case of motor vehicle accidents, often cause extensive injury to bones and joints, orthopaedic surgery is often necessary on an emergency basis to stabilize the patient. These orthopaedic surgeons will also coordinate the continued care and rehabilitation of the trauma patient’s orthopaedic injuries until they have reached their maximum level of function.
To learn more about careers in orthopedics visit the orthopedic surgery locum tenens page for more information and how to apply for a job.
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