We want to discuss the various professions in full-time orthopedics jobs in Texas, their area of concern, the degree required, and naming some of the best institutes for pursuing the career.
Introduction to Orthopedics
The musculoskeletal system forms the basis of all our movement. The different parts of the musculoskeletal system- joints, ligaments, and tendons, work in coordination to make movement possible in humans. All of our daily tasks are dependent on the health of the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedics is the branch of medicine that focuses on diagnosing, treating, and caring for the musculoskeletal system.
Orthopedists are medical health professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases and disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Depending on the roles, orthopedists use surgical and nonsurgical approaches to pain, fractures, and injuries. People visit orthopedics for a number of reasons- injury during exertion, injury during athletic activity, pain or stiffness that impairs functioning, any type of dislocation, decrease in the range of motion, chronic pain (lasts more than ten to twelve weeks) and instability in standing or any motion. Orthopedic doctors work with other professionals to design an effective treatment plan for the patient’s recovery.
Roles and Responsibilities:
The following are the roles and responsibilities of an orthopedist:
Diagnose the problem by performing tests Noting patients' histories and analyzing the degree of damage Using specialized equipment to determine the location and extent of a fraction or injury Performing blood tests to check for degenerative bone conditions Identifying the best course of treatment for the fastest and most effective healing Strengthening the area of injury through exercises, therapy, ultrasounds, and strength training Performing surgeries to repair bones, ligaments, tendons, and joints| Prescribing medication for healing and pain relief during recovery Monitoring the progress of the patient and making adjustments to the treatment plan
Additional Skills required for Orthopedics
Apart from gaining a medical degree in orthopedics, orthopedists must develop the following skills:
Excellent Communication and Interpersonal Skills: Orthopedists need to guide their patients to recovery by constantly engaging with them and motivating them to participate in physiotherapy.
Good Hand-Eye Coordination and Manual Dexterity: Orthopedists need to be skilled and dexterous. Orthopedic surgeons need to possess good hand-eye coordination to ensure that the surgeries are performed successfully.
Analytical and Problem- Solving Skills: Orthopedists need to possess critical thinking skills to analyze the problem and hand and devise the best possible treatment plan for the patient
Research Skills: As in any other medical profession, orthopedists must be updated on the discoveries and new technology in the domain of orthopedics
Flexibility and Ability to Work Calmly in Emergencies: Damages like fractures and ligament tears require immediate attention. Hence, orthopedists must be flexible in their timings and perform surgeries and treatments calmly in high-pressure situations.
Current Required Educations for career
There are multiple career options within orthopedics. To become an orthopedic surgeon, one must complete an undergraduate education with sufficient physical sciences courses and then appear for the medical entrance test. Post admission, students undergo four years of medical school and a minimum of five years of residency to specialize in orthopedic surgery. If one aims to specialize in surgery such as foot and ankle surgery, or pediatric surgery, they will have to complete a specialization fellowship.
To become a physiotherapist, you need to obtain an undergraduate degree related to nursing, anatomy, biology or nutrition. The second step is to enroll yourself in a graduate program in physiotherapy, accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.
Career path for Orthopedists
There are several profiles that people pursuing orthopedics can work in:
Orthopedic Surgeon: This is one of the most popular options among people pursuing orthopedics. While a few orthopedic surgeons choose a general practice, there are multiple specializations within orthopedics. These include pediatric orthopedics, hand surgery, foot and ankle surgery, joint replacement, orthopedic oncology, orthopedic trauma, spine surgery, and sports medicine.
Physician Assistant: A physician assistant’s role is to work closely with orthopedic surgeons in the operating room, pre, and post-operative care, etc.
Physical Therapist: Physical therapists guide a patient to recover from an orthopedic condition, be it corrective surgery or chronic pain. The guidance of a physical therapist is imperative in restoring normal body mechanics and functions.
Cast Tech: A casting technician works in an orthopedics office to apply casts, remove cast material, fitting braces, and assisting in the handling of other medical equipment.
Nursing: Nursing is not restricted to the role of being primary caregivers for hospitalized patients. Nurses play an essential role in the care of patients before, during, and after the surgery. Nurses also adopt the role of ‘orthopedic navigators’ who help the patients transition across different stages of care.
Pay Scale as per the Career:
According to a Medscape report in 2019, orthopedic surgery is the best paying medical specialty in the USA. The average annual salary among orthopedic surgeons is around $480,000.
Physiotherapists earn lesser than surgeons but have an ascending pay-scale with experience. A physiotherapist with less than two years of experience makes around 110,000 USD per year. Physiotherapists with two to five years of experience earn $140,000 per annum. With an experience of five to ten years, physiotherapists can earn up to $180,00 annually.
Top companies to work with:
Hospital for Special Surgery (New York City)
Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
UCSF Medical Center
Rush University Medical Center (Chicago)
Other Employment Opportunities:
Apart from working in private hospitals, orthopedics can work in the following establishments:
Sports Training Centres
Defense Rehabilitation Centres
Pro & Cons of Choosing Orthopedics:
There are multiple pros and cons to choosing orthopedics. The cost of pursuing orthopedics, especially orthopedic surgery, is very high. The process is also extremely long and requires around twelve years of investment. A specialization would involve more costs and time. This entire process often requires students to take loans, and the debt takes a long term to be repaid. The job is also physically and emotionally demanding. It requires constant research and upskilling. Being an orthopedist would also require you to be okay with erratic schedules to tend to medical emergencies. It involves long working hours and overtime regularly.
However, the jobs in orthopedics hold immense scope for career development. There are various career paths to choose from depending on your capacity, monetary conditions, and other commitments. Finally, it offers you a chance to engage in a respectful career based on helping others lead a comfortable and healthy life.