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How to become an orthopedic surgeon


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4 hours ago, futureortho said:

 

I was just admitted to medical school in canada. I was wondering how does matching work? how do you get research/build your cv? I know i have a long way to go but for the past 10+ years ive wanted to go into ortho. How do i start building my cv accordingly to improve my chances at matching? 

You do electives in ortho, be friendly and work hard on electives. That’s all. Ortho is not competitive in Canada. 
 

But I’d recommend exploring all options when you start med school before committing to any particular specialty. Often times clinical practice differs dramatically from pre-conceived ideas of what a given specialty is like on a day-to-day basis. 

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10 minutes ago, ZBL said:

You do electives in ortho, be friendly and work hard on electives. That’s all. Ortho is not competitive in Canada. 
 

But I’d recommend exploring all options when you start med school before committing to any particular specialty. Often times clinical practice differs dramatically from pre-conceived ideas of what a given specialty is like on a day-to-day basis. 

The competition comes once you're looking for an actual job.

Also, while it isn't competitive in Canada as a whole, it is ridiculously competitive in Quebec (2-3 applicants ranking it first/spot depending on the years). Something to keep in mind if OP is in Quebec. Ironically, this means that ortho is even less competitive in english Canada (ie: it isn't even very competitive in Canada as a whole despite Quebec skewing the numbers).

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2 hours ago, Snowmen said:

The competition comes once you're looking for an actual job.

Also, while it isn't competitive in Canada as a whole, it is ridiculously competitive in Quebec (2-3 applicants ranking it first/spot depending on the years). Something to keep in mind if OP is in Quebec. Ironically, this means that ortho is even less competitive in english Canada (ie: it isn't even very competitive in Canada as a whole despite Quebec skewing the numbers).

I still don't understand why more people (specifically, the money-minded people) don't just do ortho and then go down to the US and practice their true pa$$ion: $pine $urgery

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9 hours ago, insomnias said:

I still don't understand why more people (specifically, the money-minded people) don't just do ortho and then go down to the US and practice their true pa$$ion: $pine $urgery

I can comment on that: I'm heading into med school and ortho is what everything I've done prior in life would push me towards, particularly spine. Whether or not I'll actually go that route is another story - I don't like the idea of going into school with my mind made up on a specialty (and I do have issues with ortho).

But lets say I end up in ortho anyway and further pursue spine. 2020 really illustrated to me that I don't believe the added pull of money/prestige/incentive would offset the issues I would have with living in America for the duration of my career. I'd have no issues doing a fellowship there and then returning - in fact I think that is likely. But I'm quite proud to be born and raised living in Canada (not that we don't have have our own problems). The idea of taking STEP 1/2 and moving to the States has always been in the back of my mind, as financially, it seems like the obvious decision for spine surgery. But, these days, I feel pretty content with closing those doors and making it work in Canada as best I can, even if that outcome isn't nearly as ideal, career wise. And yes, I've spent many nights reading about how nasty the job market situation in ortho in Canada is too. I don't have answers to how I'll make it work, but I feel that moving to the US permanently isn't the way to be "happiest" in life (primarily for reasons outside of my career, but I'm not convinced it would be the perfect career either).

I'm also aware that my answer will probably be radically different by the time I'd actually have to move there, which would be...2030...? (:unsure: ...)

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46 minutes ago, Sleepywood said:

I can comment on that: I'm heading into med school and ortho is what everything I've done prior in life would push me towards, particularly spine. Whether or not I'll actually go that route is another story - I don't like the idea of going into school with my mind made up on a specialty.

But lets say I end up in ortho anyway and further pursue spine. 2020 really illustrated to me that I don't believe the added pull of money/prestige/incentive would offset the issues I would have with living in America for the duration of my career. I'd have no issues doing a fellowship there and then returning - in fact I think that is likely. But I'm quite proud to be born and raised living in Canada (not that we don't have have our own problems). The idea of taking STEP 1/2 and moving to the States has always been in the back of my mind, as financially, it seems like the obvious decision for spine surgery. But, these days, I feel pretty content with closing those doors and making it work in Canada as best I can, even if that outcome isn't nearly as ideal, career wise. And yes, I've spent many nights reading about how nasty the job market situation in ortho in Canada is too. I don't have answers to how I'll make it work, but I feel that moving to the US permanently isn't the way to be "happiest" in life (primarily for reasons outside of my career, but I'm not convinced it would be the perfect career either).

I'm also aware that my answer will probably be radically different by the time I'd actually have to move there, which would be...2030...? (:unsure: ...)

I totally understand why you are looking at the US that way currently. But I’d suggest to stay open minded throughout your medical career because your perceptions may not be completely accurate. It’s easy to look at the US from an outsider’s lens as inferior to Canada, but it’s very hard to confirm that unless you have actually lived there.

 

I say this because I was also quite cynical of the US until my 20s when I stayed in South Dakota for a few months and travelled to the nearby states frequently (Wisconsin, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota). I’m not white, so I expected to experience discrimination, racism, and ignorance. Instead, I met some of the kindest people I’ve interacted with in my life. Those states specifically tend to have a community vibe; people lend a hand to their neighbours, and foster a very close-knit friendly environment. I’ve lived in Canada both in Toronto, Calgary, and smaller towns and didn’t quite get the same feeling of people.

I’ve been to Minneapolis, Chicago, New York City, Miami , and some cities in South Carolina as well. My experience in those cities were vastly different from the previous states I mentioned. People tend to be impatient and even unfriendly at times. In fact, I did experience some discrimination in parts of South Carolina which was really surprising. 
 

This is all to say that living in the US is an extremely variable experience depending on where you decide to reside. I’ve learned that I love some parts of the US while I cannot stand being in some parts. 

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25 minutes ago, bruh said:

I totally understand why you are looking at the US that way currently. But I’d suggest to stay open minded throughout your medical career because your perceptions may not be completely accurate. It’s easy to look at the US from an outsider’s lens as inferior to Canada, but it’s very hard to confirm that unless you have actually lived there.

 

I say this because I was also quite cynical of the US until my 20s when I stayed in South Dakota for a few months and travelled to the nearby states frequently (Wisconsin, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota). I’m not white, so I expected to experience discrimination, racism, and ignorance. Instead, I met some of the kindest people I’ve interacted with in my life. Those states specifically tend to have a community vibe; people lend a hand to their neighbours, and foster a very close-knit friendly environment. I’ve lived in Canada both in Toronto, Calgary, and smaller towns and didn’t quite get the same feeling of people.

I’ve been to Minneapolis, Chicago, New York City, Miami , and some cities in South Carolina as well. My experience in those cities were vastly different from the previous states I mentioned. People tend to be impatient and even unfriendly at times. In fact, I did experience some discrimination in parts of South Carolina which was really surprising. 
 

This is all to say that living in the US is an extremely variable experience depending on where you decide to reside. I’ve learned that I love some parts of the US while I cannot stand being in some parts. 

I had a line in there about being open minded to my feelings about the US, but edited it out for some reason. Nevertheless, I will definitely take your advice - thank you :)

To add to the positive experiences, a good friend of mine from undergrad (in Canada) just graduated from a medical school in the US, met/married her husband in the US, and is doing her residency in the US - and seems incredibly happy. I don't think she had any significant connections to the US, either - most of her family seems centered back in Canada. And, I'll admit I've had nothing but positive experiences in the US from my own visits (both leisure and for conferences).

I won't dive into my reasons for why I feel the way I feel (it feels like the focus of a separate thread, perhaps), but I will say that most reasons are independent of location, and some of which involve raising a family within the American system (and all that would entail). I wouldn't really consider it a superior/inferior issue, more that there are just fundamental differences, with my preferences leaning towards one side over the other. I'm sure I could make it work - and who knows, maybe I will ;)

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1 hour ago, Sleepywood said:

I had a line in there about being open minded to my feelings about the US, but edited it out for some reason. Nevertheless, I will definitely take your advice - thank you :)

To add to the positive experiences, a good friend of mine from undergrad (in Canada) just graduated from a medical school in the US, met/married her husband in the US, and is doing her residency in the US - and seems incredibly happy. I don't think she had any significant connections to the US, either - most of her family seems centered back in Canada. And, I'll admit I've had nothing but positive experiences in the US from my own visits (both leisure and for conferences).

I won't dive into my reasons for why I feel the way I feel (it feels like the focus of a separate thread, perhaps), but I will say that most reasons are independent of location, and some of which involve raising a family within the American system (and all that would entail). I wouldn't really consider it a superior/inferior issue, more that there are just fundamental differences, with my preferences leaning towards one side over the other. I'm sure I could make it work - and who knows, maybe I will ;)

Absolutely true!

The American and Canadian healthcare system as well as political structure are very different. I had a friend of mine take a HUGE pay cut to move from Canada to Sweden as a doctor simply because of her fundamentals about raising children and the social structure of Scandinavian countries - 2 years later she is the happiest she has ever been and thinks she’s made the best decision.

It’s important to consider where your philosophy of living most closely aligns with. 

We’re going off tangent a bit but it’s relevant regardless :) 

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20 hours ago, insomnias said:

I still don't understand why more people (specifically, the money-minded people) don't just do ortho and then go down to the US and practice their true pa$$ion: $pine $urgery

I mean ortho spine is the antithesis of ortho so I kind of get it. Long surgeries, poor outcomes, chronic issues that can't be fixed easily, turf wars with neuro, god bless those who actually want to specialize in it

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13 hours ago, QueenStan said:

I mean ortho spine is the antithesis of ortho so I kind of get it. Long surgeries, poor outcomes, chronic issues that can't be fixed easily, turf wars with neuro, god bless those who actually want to specialize in it

I thought they only did a single surgery? Oh wait, maybe 2: Laminectory with fusion and laminectomy without fusion.

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On 6/16/2020 at 4:57 PM, futureortho said:

I was just admitted to medical school in canada. I was wondering how does matching work? how do you get research/build your cv? I know i have a long way to go but for the past 10+ years ive wanted to go into ortho. How do i start building my cv accordingly to improve my chances at matching? 

1. You will learn how the match works in medical school. You can think of it as the algorithm going down your list of program preferences and checking to see if they ranked you highly enough for a spot. It will do this over and over until all spots are filled. In this way the applicant is essentially always favoured in the match and you should always rank by your true preference; the program liking you should have no sway on your decision.

2. Research comes about usually by either applying to some standardized research program your school does (if applicable) or finding mentors in your specialty of interest praying they have a research position open. Other than that you can try getting to know residents and seeing if they have anything or cold emailing if you're desperate. Other extracurriculars are mostly either to help demonstrate interest or some CanMEDS quality; not too important.

3. The overarching strategy is similar for most specialties. Do well on electives. Build your CV. Get to know and try to impress your home program by networking (there are always some sort of surgical events for medical students every year). Don't do anything that shoots yourself in the foot. Etc.

There are dozens of similar topics and hundreds of posts from recent years about this, just search around.

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On 6/17/2020 at 8:36 AM, Sleepywood said:

I can comment on that: I'm heading into med school and ortho is what everything I've done prior in life would push me towards, particularly spine. Whether or not I'll actually go that route is another story - I don't like the idea of going into school with my mind made up on a specialty (and I do have issues with ortho).

But lets say I end up in ortho anyway and further pursue spine. 2020 really illustrated to me that I don't believe the added pull of money/prestige/incentive would offset the issues I would have with living in America for the duration of my career. I'd have no issues doing a fellowship there and then returning - in fact I think that is likely. But I'm quite proud to be born and raised living in Canada (not that we don't have have our own problems). The idea of taking STEP 1/2 and moving to the States has always been in the back of my mind, as financially, it seems like the obvious decision for spine surgery. But, these days, I feel pretty content with closing those doors and making it work in Canada as best I can, even if that outcome isn't nearly as ideal, career wise. And yes, I've spent many nights reading about how nasty the job market situation in ortho in Canada is too. I don't have answers to how I'll make it work, but I feel that moving to the US permanently isn't the way to be "happiest" in life (primarily for reasons outside of my career, but I'm not convinced it would be the perfect career either).

I'm also aware that my answer will probably be radically different by the time I'd actually have to move there, which would be...2030...? (:unsure: ...)

if you do medical school and residency in canada, do you still need to take USMLE 1/2 to practice in the states? 

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11 minutes ago, futureortho said:

if you do medical school and residency in canada, do you still need to take USMLE 1/2 to practice in the states? 

You need USMLE to get a licence in a lot of states. It's also needed for some fellowships. Apparently you can get a licence without it but it involves having a hospital hire you and do some legal work which I've heard is a harder path than just doing the exam (remember the goal for Canadians is to pass which is a lot easier than trying to get a good score). If you are considering a surgical specialty, I'd highly recommend doing the usmle at some point (do step 2 for sure while studying for you mccqe part 1)

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On 6/16/2020 at 7:34 PM, Snowmen said:

The competition comes once you're looking for an actual job.

Also, while it isn't competitive in Canada as a whole, it is ridiculously competitive in Quebec (2-3 applicants ranking it first/spot depending on the years). Something to keep in mind if OP is in Quebec. Ironically, this means that ortho is even less competitive in english Canada (ie: it isn't even very competitive in Canada as a whole despite Quebec skewing the numbers).

Is the Quebec job market for otho much better? Ortho looks really cool but damn, some of the stories about fellows trying to find a job are horrible

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20 hours ago, piperacillin said:

Is the Quebec job market for otho much better? Ortho looks really cool but damn, some of the stories about fellows trying to find a job are horrible

Just as bad if not worst although it seems to be opening up a tiny bit according to the senior residents I spoke to.

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20 hours ago, DocBrown9 said:

You need USMLE to get a licence in a lot of states. It's also needed for some fellowships. Apparently you can get a licence without it but it involves having a hospital hire you and do some legal work which I've heard is a harder path than just doing the exam (remember the goal for Canadians is to pass which is a lot easier than trying to get a good score). If you are considering a surgical specialty, I'd highly recommend doing the usmle at some point (do step 2 for sure while studying for you mccqe part 1)

this is true!

some states don't require the USMLE at all - and take our exams in its place - that grants you a medical license without it. MA for instance which is where I was for the past 2 years. 

Note just because the state doesn't need it doesn't mean the hospital won't like to see it to help select people. 

 

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On 6/16/2020 at 7:51 PM, DocBrown9 said:

 

Empty your head of anything but broken bones.

 

Jokes aside, love Ortho or. Lots of entertainment

I have had conversations like this.......trying to explain to a particular person now in charge of a patient that the pathology they were hoping for isn't there but a much more serious one they don't usually manage is, or there are two pathologies and they only care out the one in their area. 

Medicine - alway fun!

Edited by rmorelan
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4 hours ago, Snowmen said:

Just as bad if not worst although it seems to be opening up a tiny bit according to the senior residents I spoke to.

I really hope this is true...nothing we can do except stay optimistic. Literally every single ortho resident I've talked to over the years says "things are finally opening up" and "yes the job market isn't great, but it's not as bad as people think. on par with most other surgical specialties".

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10 hours ago, garlic said:

I really hope this is true...nothing we can do except stay optimistic. Literally every single ortho resident I've talked to over the years says "things are finally opening up" and "yes the job market isn't great, but it's not as bad as people think. on par with most other surgical specialties".

It's about on par with most other surgical specialties which are all awful. They technically weren't lying.

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Here's a question that I realize no one has an answer to...but I'd still be interested in peoples thoughts: does anyone wonder if COVID - with how it has thrust healthcare into the spotlight in new ways - may lead to some positive changes within healthcare in Canada over the next few years, which may in turn lead to improvements with the job situation for surgeons?

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7 minutes ago, Sleepywood said:

Here's a question that I realize no one has an answer to...but I'd still be interested in peoples thoughts: does anyone wonder if COVID - with how it has thrust healthcare into the spotlight in new ways - may lead to some positive changes within healthcare in Canada over the next few years, which may in turn lead to improvements with the job situation for surgeons?

I'm scared that if anything, it's going to shrink the surgical field even more :wacko: while expanding medical specialties, FM and EM with increased online/phone medicine implementation. 

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