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Electives - Orthopedics


Adult Orthopaedics- Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Salem, Virginia)

Elective Number: 2118

Rotation Supervisor: Dr. Phillip J. Patterson

Coordinator: Joni Poore Joni.Poore@va.gov

Duration: Maximum 4 weeks, Minimum 2 weeks

Available: All Rotations

A pager is required for this rotation but is not supplied by the department. Lodging is provided on campus for students presenting from out of town.

Report to: Joni Poore

Time to Report: 8am on first day of rotation- call VAMC 540-982-2463 ext. 2246

Place to Report: Department of Surgery Office, 1st Floor, Building 143, Room 1C109

Typical day: 7:00 am - 5:00 pm

Attendance: Attendance at elective activities is mandatory.

  • Anyone who is ill or has a personal or family emergency must contact Joni Poore and the Attending on Service.
  • Students are allowed to take off up to 1 day per week to interview between October 1st - February 1st.
    • Specific days missed must be approved by the Chief of Orthopedics.

Suggested preparatory reading: Orthopedic Surgery: The Essentials

Number of students per rotation: 2

Course Description: The rotation in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is divided between the four operative Attendings with subspecialty emphasis in order to provide exposure to general and specific subspecialty-oriented patient care and educational experience. Students will be assigned to one or more of the following services during the rotation:

  • Adult Reconstruction: provides in and outpatient exposure at the regional referral center for VAMC VISN 6 (Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia) for major joint replacement/revision, reconstructive osteotomies, anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction and hip arthroscopy.
  • Shoulder and Adult Trauma: provides exposure to the operative and non-operative treatment of shoulder-related injuries for the recreational athlete and returning veteran.
  • Hand: provides exposure to the management of traumatic and non-traumatic conditions affecting the hand and elbow.
  • General: provides exposure to a general in and outpatient orthopaedic practice including upper and lower extremity general orthopaedics

All services participate in the surgical and non-surgical care of orthopaedic trauma patients and general orthopaedic care.

Students are expected to:
• participate in all of the in and out-patient activities (out-patient clinic, hospital rounds, surgery, emergency room care) pertaining to the service to which they are assigned;
• take day call (no evening or weekend call required) to participate in the evaluation and management of acute orthopaedic trauma in the emergency department, the hospital and the operating room. Students will be under the supervision of the Orthopaedic attending during the call period;
• attend and actively participate in all orthopaedic and pertinent hospital conferences (Weekly Grand Rounds, Morbidity and Mortality)
• prepare for surgical cases by reviewing the pertinent anatomy, surgical procedure and indications and contra-indications for the operation. Resource materials are available in the Orthopaedic Department, computer journal catalog, and the Veteran’s Affairs library;
• read independently in preparation for the daily conferences and to obtain additional information regarding a particular case presentation or diagnosis.

Learning Objectives


• develop a 3-dimensional appreciation and understanding of anatomy as it applies to orthopaedic injuries, diagnoses and procedures;
• develop the ability to read and interpret orthopaedic radiographs as they pertain to clinical decision making and acute orthopaedic trauma;
• develop the ability to classify and categorize major fracture types as well as a basic understanding of the treatment of these injuries.


• improve surgical skills as they pertain to instrument usage and wound closure;
• develop the ability to safely and effectively apply upper and lower extremity splints and casts;
• improve your efficiency in the evaluation and management of both acute and chronic orthopaedic conditions;
• develop the ability to aspirate/inject major joints utilizing sterile aseptic technique.


• acquire an appreciation for the diversity and complexity of orthopaedic surgery and its various subspecialties;
• with regards to the students interests, evaluate strengths and weaknesses, encourage orthopaedics as a potential post-graduate career, and equip the student with basic skills in an environment that allows a hands on rotation in a unique learning environment with direct supervision from an orthopaedic attending.