Orthopaedic PA Fellowship
Orthopaedic Physician Assistant fellowships allow for advanced, specialty-specific education and experience for entry-level graduates. In 2015, Wake Forest School of Medicine Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and PA Studies jointly opened an orthopaedic surgery postgraduate PA fellowship. The fellowship structure consists of 3 components: independent clinical experience, structured rotations, and learning modules.
The fellow runs one independent clinic each week. During that clinic, the fellow works independently but has access to other orthopedic surgeons and physician assistants who are running clinics simultaneously if needed for advice or guidance.
Along with the weekly clinic, core orthopaedic-specific rotations expose the fellow to all subspecialties. During the rotations, the fellow attends educational lectures and grand rounds, as well as continuing medical education conferences. The fellow also completes learning modules that address aspects of systems-based practice, quality, and clinical outcomes.
The primary goals of the fellowship are to develop the clinical and procedural skills necessary for a PA fellow to "hit the ground running" with minimal training in physical exam, imaging interpretation, and surgical first assist skills, making them attractive candidates to busy orthopaedic practices who are looking for someone with experience.
Access the full-length JBJS article about the establishment of the ground-breaking program.
Clinical orientation includes exposure to other APPs in a clinical setting to understand how clinics are run, providing preliminary training in independent patient care. The PA fellow then begins an autonomous weekly clinic, increasing to full patient volumes within the first few months.
On core rotations, the fellow generally spends another day per week in a subspecialty clinic with the orthopaedic surgeon mentor for that rotation, as well as 3 days in the OR. With this schedule, the fellow continues to accumulate clinical insight throughout the year to increase
independent clinical skills.
Though not a requirement, research opportunities are available during elective months.