Shadowing a Doctor

May 12, 2015

In the middle of complex surgery! Trauma and orthopaedic surgery is an advanced specialty that focuses on the diagnosis, assessment and treatment of congenital and acquired disorders of the bones, injuries and joints and their associated soft tissues – muscles, ligaments and nerves. The main goal of this specialised area within orthopaedics is to restore the alignment of the joint surfaces and heal fractured bones.

Orthopaedic surgeons in the UK employ highly advanced surgical techniques to diagnose, evaluate and treat injuries that are caused by trauma, degenerative diseases, congenital conditions, tumours and infections related to the musculoskeletal system. Trauma injuries could range from simple work or sports related injuries to severe cases of multiple trauma caused by violence or serious accidents.

As an orthopaedic trauma surgeon, some of the issues you would treat include:

  • Primary repair of simple fractures
  • Sudden and severe musculoskeletal trauma
  • Reconstruction of fractures in or around the joints
  • Complex pelvic fractures
  • Long-term rehabilitation for incapacitating post-traumatic issues

Most trauma and orthopaedic surgeons develop an interest and specialise in one particular orthopaedic condition, often based on an anatomical region of the body. Sub-specialties include:

  • Reconstruction of the lower limb joints such as hip and knee replacements
  • Hip surgery
  • Spinal surgery
  • Surgery of the upper limbs including the shoulder, hands and elbow
  • Surgery of the lower limbs including the knees, ankle and foot
  • Spine surgery
  • Complex trauma surgery
  • Bone tumour surgery
  • Paediatric surgery
  • Sports injuries surgery
  • Rheumatoid surgery

What Working In Trauma And Orthopaedic Surgery Is Like 

For trauma and orthopaedic surgeons, the work day is split between theatre and outpatient clinics. During the work day, you could be tending to operating sessions, outpatient clinics, research and training, on-call duties and administration.

The nature of the job is such that there is a lot of on-call demand that these professionals have to be prepared to deal with at any time. Trauma and orthopaedic surgeons reduce the emergency trauma workload by dealing with all injuries related to the bones and soft tissues.  They usually work as part of a multi disciplinary team and care for patients across all ages that require upper and lower limb surgery, trauma surgery, spinal surgery or oncological surgery.

While the on-call schedule can be very demanding, this is a specialty that offers a very high sense of job satisfaction. Experienced orthopaedic surgeons readily admit that one of the main attractions of orthopaedics as a career is the fact that their interventions can quickly and dramatically improve quality of life for patients.

Desirable Skills & Personal Attributes For A Trauma And Orthopaedic Surgeon

Trauma and orthopaedic surgery requires combined expertise in theoretical knowledge, diagnostic skills and surgical techniques. A good sense of spatial awareness, the ability to think clearly and rationally under pressure, excellent communication skills and the ability to work as part of a team are all equally important attributes in this specialty.

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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.