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Orthopedics Residency Questions

What advice would you give about getting letters of recommendation in your specialty?

It would be very beneficial to obtain letters of recommendation from physicians who work in the specialty you have chosen.  I would also encourage students to pursue letters from the department chairman as well as physicians you work directly with.  In addition it is very important to gain the respect and approval of the residents you are working with as they are often asked by the senior staff about their insights and impressions of given students.

What is the value of doing audition rotations in your specialty?

With regard to Orthopedics I think an audition rotation is an invaluable way to show both the residents and senior staff what they can expect of you when you become a resident with respect to your work ethic, knowledge base, compassion, and ability to work with ancillary personnel. 

To what extent does research, publications, or presentations affect one’s ability to match in your specialty?

I think that research, publications, and presentations are an important part of the application but certainly not the only thing that we will look at with regard to matching applicants.  Some of our best residents had virtually no research experience when they started in our program.

Is a Step 2CK score needed before you will invite someone for an interview?

I would not say it is necessary but a good Step 2 score certainly helps applicants secure a position for interviewing.

What does the perfect applicant look like in your specialty?

I don’t know that there is any such thing.  We look at a number of things with regard to applicants which include Step scores, prior work experience, letters of recommendation, the personal statement, and their rotation with us if applicable.  We also consider their medical school transcripts and their medical school clinical rotation evaluations.

Does having a below average Step 1 score doom you in your specialty?

I wouldn't’t say that it “dooms” you but if you have a low Step 1 score I would say it is imperative to do extremely well on your audition rotations and to score very well on Step 2.

Would you ever take someone with a Step 2CS failure?

In all honesty I think it would be very difficult to match in our specialty with a poor Step 2 score. 

Does a student need to Honor in your specialty in order to match?

No, but we do look at their evaluations in the Core clinical rotations and we pay special attention to their performance on the surgical disciplines.

The students have significant elective time during their 2nd and 3rd year for career exploration.

What electives would you recommend to a student who is undecided but considering your specialty?

They certainly need to participate in electives that trend toward the surgical disciplines. I would highly recommend doing a rotation in Orthopedics to make sure the student understands what it actually entails and cement their interest.

What electives would you recommend to a student who is undecided but considering your specialty?

Again, I would look at surgical disciplines.

Is there anything else I haven’t asked that you feel an applicant to your specialty ought to know?

I would just emphasize the importance of the audition rotation.  It really can help a student make up for deficiencies in their application.

Orthopedics Residency Data

Length of Training: 5 years

Mean USMLE Step 1 score = 246
Mean USMLE Step 2 CK score = 253

Mean number of programs applied to: 88

Programs: 156

# of US MD Applicants in this specialty: 1,095

# of positions available: 727

Match: NRMP Main Residency Match

  Program Interview Invites(%):  Completions(%):
Before  Oct. 1, 2017  3  2
Oct. 2017  21  1
Nov. 2017  52  10
Dec. 2017  20  33
Jan. 2018  4 54

Average hours worked per week: 57 

Sources: NRMP; AAMC

Updated: 01-2019