Care First Orthopaedic - The Pathway to Become an Orthopaedic Surgeon

How to Become an Orthopaedic Surgeon in Australia

Often when you meet our Specialists at Care First Orthopaedics after admission to the hospital you may have come across other doctors that have been involved in your care.

Our Specialists have all trained locally in Australia and have devoted their lives to provide the best service and treatment to their patients. However, the pathway to become an Orthopaedic surgeon is long and comes with a lot of sacrifice and dedication.

Medical School is usually 4-6 years depending on the University that is attended. During medical school the foundations of becoming a doctor is taught and learned. More importantly exploring and developing special interest in areas of medicine are acquired. This is where our specialists all developed their interests in Orthopaedic surgery.

Once medical school is completed all new doctors must complete 2 years of general training as an intern and resident where they are responsible for the daily tasks of looking after patients, ensuring tests are ordered and checked while gaining experience in the field of surgery, medicine and emergency. During this period the doctors will move to different hospitals every 10 weeks. Once internship and residency are completed doctors work as registrars who are not accredited by the Australian Orthopaedic Association. As an unaccredited registrar valuable experience is gained to produce the foundation of orthopaedic care. However, during this period the registrars work on average between 80-100 hours a week, while completing masters degrees, surgical examinations and moving hospitals in different health districts on a yearly basis.

To be accepted for orthopaedic training in Australia is quite competitive and it generally takes 4-6 years after graduation from medical school to acquire enough experience and pre-requisites to be accepted onto the program. The yearly intake across Australia is 30-50 candidates. Once accepted onto the Australia orthopaedic training program the registrars then become accredited. This is a 5 year training program where there is intensive clinical and surgical training. The accredited registrar will generally move locations every 6 months, gain experience in all areas of orthopaedic surgery. This includes trauma, hip and knee, Spine, Hands, Shoulder and elbow, foot and ankle, tumor and Paediatrics. Accredited registrars will work 80-100 hours a week and must maintain a logbook. Most accredited registrar will have participated in over 4000 operations in their by the end of training. There is a final examination for which the accredited registrar will spend a year of their life studying all while working 80 hours a week and must be completed prior to becoming a specialist.

Finally, after our surgeons have successfully completed Australian orthopaedic training they commence fellowships in their subspeciality areas. A Fellowships is additional training that the surgeon undertakes independently outside the formal training provided from the Australian Orthopaedic Association and usually takes 1-2 years.

Having completed the pathway to becoming a specialist orthopaedic surgeon from the time of graduation from medical school usually take on average between 10-15 years. Our surgeons have made many personal and professional sacrifices to do the job they love and provide their patients with the highest level of expertise.

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