A QUALITY EXPERIENCE:
"OrthoCarolina’s (OC) adult reconstruction fellowship program not only met my expectations but also excelled in every aspect of education and training. Several aspects to this training program should be highlighted. First, the revision joint experience is phenomenal. Every joint fellow specifically wants additional training in revision joints, as this is often a weakness of their residency training programs. OC has continued to perform a strong amount of revisions throughout the practice of each of the attendings. The revision cases are not more heavily concentrated on the younger junior attendings but instead distributed evenly among all of the attendings including the most senior partners. This is a key component because we get to learn from surgeons that have been performing complex revisions for 15 years as well as learn from the younger surgeons that are still creating their own techniques on how to handle these difficult cases. Approximately 40% of my cases were revision, making this one of the best revision fellowship experiences in the country. Secondly, the volume of surgery is appropriate. Although high volume (~500 cases per fellow) it is definitely not the highest volume practice in the country. I view this as an advantage because I never felt the pressure to “hurry-up” and finish the case because we have so many more to do… As the fellow operating, we always had plenty of time to think about the case and make intra-operative decisions during the case without the time constraint pressures. Also, when you have ~35-40% revisions in your practice it will account for the lack of other high volume areas. Thirdly, the research resources available to us throughout the year are phenomenal. We have full access to all of the research staff; we attend monthly research meetings, we attending and presented IRB applications to the committee. We were encouraged to attend any and all adult reconstruction educational meetings including but not limited to AAHKS, AAOS, ICJR, CCJR, etc. In addition, OC physicians arranged for all the fellows to take 3 trips annually to visit a retrieval / metallurgy labs, implant manufacturer, and a fellows only forum course at Anderson Orthopaedic Research Institute. It is quite evident that the fellow’s educational experience is their priority, not to have a “worker bee”. Our “scut work” is appropriate and actually very minimal. Fourth, our autonomy was appropriate. Early on in the year they are beside us throughout the entire case, letting us operate but providing helpful hints with appropriate criticism. As the year goes on, their trust grows, and so does our autonomy. We also have the luxury of taking elective, paid trauma call (not required) in which the cases are our own if we are comfortable. If we do not feel comfortable, the OC surgeons provide a “back up” system in which they will help. The relationship between the attendings and fellows is outstanding. We are treated much more like colleagues than “fellows”. Our opinions were always considered and often our advice was used to change policy. They included us in many of their prestigious dinners and conferences. During the several days that the Traveling Insall Fellows attended OC, we were not only allowed but also encouraged to attend every event planned. This made for an outstanding experience! It gave us an opportunity to meet theses young surgeons and gave us inspiration to want to take similar paths. I have nothing negative to say about this program. It excelled everything I could have desired in a fellowship program. I feel extremely well trained and am ready for any complicated case that comes my way. In closing, I also feel that I have an OC family that I can lean on and continue a relationship for many many years to come."
Dr. Paul Edwards -- OrthoCarolina Adult Reconstruction Fellow