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Orthopedics to Emergency?


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Has anyone successfully transitioned from orthopedics to emergency medicine (or even urgent care)? For context, I'm a new graduate and was offered a wonderful orthopedics opportunity which I believe is currently my best option at the moment and I intend to honor that role for a few years, however, my background is in EM and would like to eventually return there.

I don't have the luxury to attend a fellowship with my current loans and would like to stay in the area I'm living in so my options are limited. 

Edited by cabinsnow
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I haven't personally, but I also haven't pursued it.  But, I know MANY PAs who have successfully done this.

My recommendation - moonlight at an UC and/or ED to get your foot in the door.  Your ortho experience will be a plus, but obviously not comprehensive.

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It seemed pretty hard to move outside of ortho to me when I was applying to jobs recently. I had lost an ortho job during the pandemic (decrease in elective surgeries) and started applying broadly to increase my chances of getting hired sooner. Honestly, I found that the only interviews I got were in ortho even though I applied to all different specialties. If you do end up doing ortho first, trauma ortho may make transitioning to UC/ER easier than elective ortho specialties such as spine or total joints. 

 

tldr;

It seems kinda challenging not to get pigeonholed from my limited experience 

Edited by justanotherperson
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Folks in Ortho get pigeonholed….

the classic joke - what is the definition of a double blind study?

two Ortho pods reading an EKG…. Rim shot!

As you are aware - EM is all encompassing and heavy on meds, protocols, risks, scores, etc.

You CAN be the go to Ortho ER Guru, but if you are not up on MIs, CHF, diverticulitis, pediatric everything, psych - you won’t be chosen for the job.

If you are committed to Ortho, and can handle it - find an UC/ER gig for moonlighting. Don’t lose knowledge and get pigeonholed. It is too easy to do.

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One of my buddies from school is in ER. He always said he was going to get business cards that said "Practice limited to the treatment of idiots."

It seems that a quarter of patients don't need to be seen emergently, and another two quarters really don't need medical care at all. The remaining quarter consists of unfortunate people and the "hold my beer!" crowd. 

Edited by CAAdmission
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Ortho guy that rotated through my RHC once a week said he was going to open an office with a motorcycle shop on one end and a trampoline store on the other.

 

Anyway... OP you can transition to any specialty if you have the support and training and do the grunt work. Good luck.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We had a few new hires in the ER that were from different specialities (urology and ortho)- I think they had a hard time initially adjusting to flow. They'd make comments like "what? we have another one to see?" Yes, there are 5 more in our waiting room and we have to get them out in <120 min lol.  But, I think once you get the hang of it, everything you previously learned will come back. Agree w/ moonlighting. Also, about 1/3 of my cases in minor care are ortho related! 

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