NCC Orthopaedic Residency Application
Preparation for orthopaedic residency begins during the first three years of medical school. During this time, students explore areas of medicine and decide which specialty they would like to apply. The best thing students can do during this time is to pass USMLE Step 1, score high on USMLE Step 2 and perform well during third year clerkships. In addition, if there is an attending you worked well with during a clerkship, consider asking for a letter of recommendation.
Rotating at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) is one of the most enjoyable parts of application season for our residents and staff. We enjoy teaching, getting to know the sub-interns, and the extra-hand with seeing patients or reducing bones. Being physically present and active with patient care allows the program to evaluate the candidate, and the candidate to evaluate the program. At the end of the day, our program is built on people and relationships and we want to ensure that we match the right person.
The best time to begin planning your rotation is during the midpoint of the third year of medical school. Typically, requests for rotating open for application in December, and the exact date should be communicated through the HPSP office. One of the benefits of participating in the military match is that we welcome all potential residents to come and rotate with us. There is no specific application system for a sub-interns (i.e. we do not use Visiting Student Application System: VSAS). Simply e-mail or call the Walter Reed GME coordinator to arrange a rotation. There tend to be a high volume of requests, so if you do not receive a response, please try again. Our resident representative and program coordinator are also available to help.
Fourth year medical students who are applying into orthopaedic surgery are encouraged to rotate at our program. We frequently have other students, such as third year medical students as a part of their Surgery Clerkship, or fourth year medical students going into emergency medicine or general medical officer. However, the rigor and rotation demands will be higher for sub-interns.
Students spend two weeks on two different orthopaedic services during their rotation. Our department is organized based on a team model. The five teams are as follows: 1) Arthroplasty, 2) Sports, 3) Hand, 4) Pediatrics/Spine, 5) Foot & Ankle/Trauma/Oncology
The rotation will be completed at WRNMMC. The orthopaedic department is located on the second floor of the America Building, Building 19 at the main WRNMMC campus in Bethesda, MD.
The most common time to rotate is between July and September of four year of medical school. Medical schools typically allow enough flexibility for two to three away rotations during the beginning of fourth year. Students often complete their sub-internship in orthopaedics at their home institution followed by two or three away rotations.
Most students rotate with us for a full month. Some students rotate only for a few days or a week. In general, it is advisable to rotate at your top choice programs for one full month in order to demonstrate serious interest in the program. For those that are unable to rotate at, it is recommended that you contact our program to request an interview.
Unless instructed otherwise, please arrive to the first day of the rotation wearing your military working uniform. Report to the Internal Medicine Conference Room B on the second floor of America Building 19 at 0615 for our morning conference which starts at 0630. From there, you will be oriented and provided scrubs to wear for the remainder of the rotation. During the last day of your rotation, you will be expected to wear your dress uniform for the medical student presentation. For Army, this means Class A Uniform and for Navy, this means Khaki Service Uniform (though Summer White Service Uniform is acceptable too). If you are new to the military and are unsure how to properly set up your uniform, bring it with you and we will be glad to help you set it up when you arrive.
Each team has one PGY2 and one Chief assigned. They will be your primary contact through the rotation and help to assign you to operating rooms and clinics. While being in the OR is exciting, clinic and call shifts are just as important. Working in the clinic with an attending can provide meaningful interaction and ample teaching opportunities. Students are expected to take one call shift per week. Call functions to provide time to get to know junior residents as well as a chance to demonstrate competency by presenting one call case the following morning. Finally, students are expected to complete an 8-minute presentation of their choosing at the conclusion of their rotation.
We accept applications for orthopedic surgery residency through a specific Military Education website. The coordinators for Military Graduate Medical Education will contact you regarding the details during the end of third year of medical school. The application is an online website. While the interface is slightly different for Army and Navy candidates, the required information is the same:
- Military GME Application
- USMLE Boards Scores
- Personal Statement
- Two to Four letters of Recommendation
- Dean’s Letter
- Medical School Transcript
- Curriculum Vitae
The interview is a critical piece of your application and allows the program to get to know the candidate as a person instead of a compilation of test scores and accolades. There are several interview days which occur approximately once every three weeks on Fridays from July to October. If you have completed a sub-internship, you will typically complete a formal interview on the last or second to last Friday of the rotation. For students unable to physically rotate at WRNMMC, all are invited for an in-person interview during one of the pre-determined days. Please contact our program coordinator for specifics. While it is highly encouraged that all serious applicants rotate with us or interview in person, if a student is unable to interview in person, they can arrange for a phone interview by contacting our program coordinator.