Module Guide - The Module Explained

Why study Trauma and Orthopaedics?

Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic

Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic

Musculoskeletal disorders comprise a heterogeneous group of conditions in which pain, stiffness and physical disability are prominent. They account for up to 25% of all consultations in general practice and are the most common cause of physical impairment in the community.

Trauma to the limbs is the leading cause of disability during the wage-earning period of life, whereas disorders of the joints account for half of all chronic conditions in persons over the age of 65.

The increasingly aging population of the UK means the burden of musculoskeletal disorders and disability is set to increase considerably in future. As patients live longer, more active lives, their expectations of what they should be able to physically achieve become greater.

The 9-Week Rotation

Trauma and Orthopaedics is a 4-week module in the 9-week 'ORED' rotation, which also includes 2 weeks of both Rheumatology and Endocrine/Diabetes.

Week 1 - Core Teaching Week
The core teaching week of tutorials and practicals is shared between all 3 modules. The T&O content is designed to equip you with enough knowledge to begin your clinical block. We aim to give you fundamental knowledge of musculoskeletal anatomy/physiology and some common pathologies/presentations. 
You will also be taught how to examine the musculoskeletal system and given opportunity to practice on each other.

The standard timetable for the CTW is as follows:


Weeks 2-5 or 6-9 - Clinical Weeks

  • Tutors
    • You will be assigned to a pair consultants, who will differ in their main sub-specialty. This will usually be a trauma consultant and an elective consultant, although some will be attached to a paediatric consultant. The aim of these pairings is to give you a wide view of T&O, rather than the slighlty more focused view that is given by a single consultant
    • Each consultant will have their own 'firm' (team) of registrars who will provide extra tution and can be shadowed if both consultants are away. The registrars are a good first port-of-call for questions about admin.
    • You will be given a timetable of your consultants' activities for the week and will be expected to attend all mandatory sessions. Your lead tutor will have a copy of this and any unexplained absences will be questioned.
  • Clinics
    • The emphasis of your first clinical year is on history taking and examination, which are best carried out in clinic. You are therefor expected to attend at least 2 clinics per week.
    • Ask your consultant or registrar at the beginning of the clinic if you would like to complete a feedback postcard during the session. This will give them opportunity to plan which case to let you examine/interview.
  • Theatre
    • This will be your first surgical specialty and, as such, you are expected to learn some of the fundamental principles of surgery. These include scrubbing, asepsis, informed consent and intra-/post-operative care/complications. 
    • You will have the opportunity to observe many common orthopaedic operations. You should record these on the 'Surgical Eye-Spy' sheet and attempt to see all of the listed procedures.
  • Wards
    • Many of the patients on the T&O wards will be in too much pain to examine, due to trauma or being post-op. This means your primary activity on the ward will be to practice history taking. You can interview a patient for your case report early on in the module.
  • Practical Skills Day
    • In your first clinical week, there will be a practical skills day, consisting of a morning of tutorials and an afternoon of ATLS, suturing/scrubbing and plastering of common fractures.
  • Weekly Tutorials
    • There will be 4 x 3-hour tutorials during your clinical weeks, covering:
      • Trauma radiology and common fractures
      • Upper limb pathologies
      • Hip and knee pathologies
      • Spine, foot and ankle pathologies
    • The first 2 hours will be case-based discussions
      • The initial presentation of each case will be available prior to the tutorial
      • You must do the required pre-reading to allow you to participate fully in the discussion 
    • The final hour will be based around simulated patients. 
      • You will have an opportunity to examine/take a history from the sim patient



Case Report
If you are attached to orthopaedics during weeks 2-5, you will be required to write and submit your case report. Get started early as some students may realise a patient is too complex or there is not enough information available to complete the report.

Case Presentation
You will be assigned to a group of 2-3 students and present a case to the whole group. This will be a 16 minute presentation and there will be 4 minutes of questions from the tutor at the end.

Anatomy Exam (SPOT)
This will be organised during weeks 3-6. The exam will consist of prosections, bone models and histology slides

See the EEMeC page regarding module and synoptic exams