The Vast Sea of Orthopedics
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One of the things that make orthopedic surgery so exciting is the vast scope and size of the field. It lends itself well to research for developing new treatment methods, better working medicines, and new ways of harnessing the body's natural resources to help healing without the need for surgeries or drugs. For a doctor who enjoys constant challenges on a day-to-day basis, very few other specialties can match what orthopedics offers.
Becoming Orthopedic Surgeon
Before you can apply for an orthopedic surgeon job, you must first get your education. Med school programs are going to require a high level of educational aptitude from high school, including good grades in mathematics. You'll have to complete four years of college, four years of medical school, and an additional five years of graduate school where you gain the specifics skills necessary for orthopedic surgery. You can also pursue a few more years of education if you want to be certified as an orthopedic specialist.
Keep in mind that part of your five-year graduate study program will be your residency. The length of your residency will depend on the program you've enrolled in and your career objectives. A typical residency will run between one and three years and may or may not be entirely at the same facility. So be prepared to be flexible if need be.
Going to Work
According to government statistics, there are some 20,000 practicing orthopedists and residents in the United States. When you apply for an orthopedic surgeon job it is typically with an orthopedic group or a larger group offering a multitude of disciplines. Some will opt for an orthopedic private practice while others will even choose locum tenens work. A locum tenens orthopedic surgeon job is one in which the physician works for a staffing agency on a per assignment basis.
Regardless of the work environment a given doctor chooses, the field of orthopedics is one that is ever evolving. For example, research is currently underway in a revolutionary new area of orthopedics: teaching the body, at the cellular level, to repair itself when faced with pulled or torn ligaments, stretched tendons, and so on. If scientists can figure out how to accomplish this it could change the way we think of developmental disabilities in young children and injuries for older adults.
As the American population continues to age, it is becoming apparent that orthopedics will be in high demand for many years in the future.
Is it fair to say that orthopedics is one of the areas of modern medicine with the widest range and scope? If you're an orthopedic surgeon, you would probably say "yes." There are so many possibilities in terms of what an orthopedic surgeon deals with it can be considered one of the most complex areas in all of medicine. If you don't understand what we're talking about, consider the fact that orthopedics deals with just about any kind of musculoskeletal issue ranging from scoliosis to rheumatoid arthritis to sports injuries.
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