Medical Student Courses and Electives

Medical students in their 4th year are required to complete a two-week rotation in orthopaedics clerkship 556.

The Division of Orthopaedic Surgery invites medical students to complete a clinical elective at the University of Alberta.

For information on scheduling an elective contact:
Katrina Pederson, Program Administrator

Undergraduate Office of Surgical Education
Phone: (780) 735-5953


For more information click here

Clerkship 556

For more information click here

Orthopaedic Surgery Rotation – Objectives

During the two-week rotation, you will be expected to attend physician offices, plaster room, operating room and the emergency room. Dr M Bouliane (UAH) and Dr H Jiang (RAH) will distribute your schedules to you. Fracture Rounds are held every morning, and your attendance is requested. You will be expected to take 1 in 4 call and will stay until at least 11:00 p.m., (at the discretion of the senior ortho resident on call). You will be rotating through all the orthopaedic subspecialty areas and therefore will be working with different surgeons each day. You will not be assigned one specific preceptor.

Physician Offices

Here you will see and perform examinations of the major joints. You will spend a half-day with surgeons who specialize in the spine, hip, knee, shoulder and pediatrics. You should keep a log of the cases you have seen. You should prepare for these sessions by reviewing the clinical exam of the appropriate body part and the associated common clinical scenarios.

Your objective will be to observe and to practice the examination of the following body parts. In each area you should also try and see the following cases:

a) Spine Low Back Pain
Spinal Stenosis
Disc Herniation

b) Hip Osteoarthritis
Gait Abnormality

c) Knee Osteoarthirits
Meniscal Tear
ACL Tear

d) Shoulder Rotator Cuff Tear
Unstable Shoulder

You will also be attending the office of a Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon. You should try and see cases of Scoliosis, Intoeing, Congenital Hip Dysplasia and Foot Deformities.

Note: If the opportunity arises, you should also try to see and perform examinations of the ankle, neck and wrist.

Plaster Room

Here you will be with the head plaster room technician as well as surgeons who are doing fracture clinics. You should learn some technical skills for cast application as well as learn some basics of fracture care. You should achieve the following objectives:

  • Observe and practice application of below elbow cast
  • Observe and practice removal of below elbow cast
  • Observe and practice application of below knee cast
  • Observe and practice removal of below knee cast
  • Observe joint injection or aspiration
  • Measure for crutches and cane

Operating Room

Here you will observe and assist various elective and emergent orthopaedic procedures. In preparation for these sessions you should review the anatomy of the associated body parts. You will achieve the objectives by observing and/or assisting with the following procedures:

  • Open Reduction and Internal Fixation of Fractures
  • Total Hip Replacement
  • Total Knee Replacement
  • Spine Surgery (Decompression, Fusion or Discectomy)
  • Knee Arthroscopy
  • Shoulder Arthroscopy

Emergency Room

  • Most of the time on call will be spent in the ER. You will achieve the objectives by observing and assisting with:
  • Closed Reduction of Distal Radius Fracture
  • Management of an Open Fracture
  • Splinting Fractures in Preparation for the OR

You should also achieve the following:

  • Learn how to describe fractures on X-ray
  • Understand Salter Grading of epiphyseal injury
  • Understand Compartment Syndrome
  • See and assist closed reduction of shoulder dislocation
  • See application of Skeletal Traction

Recommended Reading:

  • Physical Examination of the Spine and Extremities, Stanley Hoppenfeld
  • Clinical Examination, R McRae, Churchill-Livingston Publisher
  • Examination of Musculoskeletal System, David J. Magee
  • Sports Injury Assessment and Rehabilitation, David C. Reid (notes from course)
  • Textbook of Disorders and Injuries of the Musculoskeletal System, Robert B. Salter