GW Medical Students

Involvement in Orthopaedics: Comments from Dr. O’Brien (GW Class of 2001)

Thank you for your interest in Orthopaedic Surgery! Throughout my career, I have always felt both lucky and proud to be an orthopaedic surgeon. Naturally, many of you will consider it as a career choice, and we welcome your interest. However, keep in mind that there are more of you (students) than there are of us (faculty)! Because of this, we recommend the following guidelines for an orderly progression of your introduction to orthopaedic surgery. 

1st Year: Study Hard. Orthopaedic surgery draws from many basic science disciplines such as histology and anatomy. Though achieving honors in every course is not possible for every student, good grades will help us as we try to help you match in the orthopaedic residency of choice. Orthopaedic surgery is a highly competitive specialty.  Successful applicants will generally have very good grades and board scores. So study hard!

Between 1st and 2nd Year: Prepare to apply for the Gill Research Fellowship.  Successful student applicants will provide a resume, 300 word letter of interest in orthopaedic surgery, and an interview. Those with travel plans must disclose this prior to their application process. If you want to travel during your “last summer,” please do so. Not doing research with us over the summer will not thwart orthopaedic aspirations. When I was a GW medical student, I did summer research in the department of Biochemistry, not Orthopaedic Surgery!

2nd Year: Study, Study, Study!!!  Enjoy learning and expanding your knowledge of medicine. All orthopaedic surgeons are doctors first and foremost.  If you don’t master the basics of medicine, you cant hope to master the complexities of a specialty. Please dedicate yourself to learning and expanding your knowledge of medicine. Forget about us and orthopaedic surgery!  Prepare for step I of the United Stated Medical Licensure Examination.

Between 2nd and 3rd Year: If you retain a strong interest in Orthopaedic Surgery, inquire in the deans office about the 3rd year Honor’s Program. Selected students will be mentored in orthopaedic surgery based on recommendation from the dean’s office and their interview.

3rd Year: We look forward to meeting you on the wards!