Medical Student Clerkships

The Department of Orthopedic Surgery offers a variety of clerkship rotations. Our rotations take place across the Twin Cities at six unique sites where students will be exposed to a wide variety of orthopedic conditions and diverse patient populations. To learn more about our program, please contact our Education team at For a detailed description of orthopedic surgery electives, please visit the Medical School course directory.

Course Descriptions

ORSU 7190- General, Reconstructive, and Geriatric Orthopedics: This course consists of supervised clinical experience in the orthopedic care of adult inpatients and outpatients at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center. On this rotation, students function at the level of a junior resident in the clinic, on the ward, and in the operating room. Students will work as a part of the resident team (1 PGY-1, 4 PGY-3s, and 2 PGY-5s) and learn from experienced faculty specializing in arthroplasty, foot and ankle, hand and upper extremity, and sports medicine. The Minneapolis VAMC has a strong reputation as the busiest arthroplasty VA hospital in the country, and students are expected to describe and understand the basics of total knee and hip arthroplasty at the conclusion of their rotation. In addition, students will be responsible for presenting cases in pre-op/post-op conferences as well as a case of their choice in a didactic setting. Call is taken at home and the call frequency is at the discretion of the student and resident team.

ORSU 7185-Externship in Orthopedic Surgery: This course provides comprehensive, detailed exposure to orthopedic subspecialties at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, with a broad range of experienced faculty specializing in hand, shoulder arthroscopy and reconstruction, spine, tumor, sports medicine, and arthroplasty.  The student will develop their orthopedic knowledge and technical skills through a mentorship-based model with various faculty, many of whom are national and international leaders in their respective fields. Students will attend daily conferences and work alongside residents to care for patients on the ward, in the clinic, and in the operating room. As a part of the rotation students are required to present a case at one of the morning conferences. The call requirement at this Level II trauma center is one full weekend and is taken at home. Any additional call is at the discretion of the student and resident team.

ORSU 7188-Pediatric Orthopedics: This course provides an opportunity for students to be exposed to pediatric orthopedics at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare, which is a nationally recognized center for the treatment and management of pediatric neuromuscular conditions. Students will function as a part of the resident team (3 PGY-2s, 1 PGY-4) caring for pediatric patients with a variety of orthopedic conditions including cerebral palsy, scoliosis, limb deformity, and congenital abnormalities. Students will also be exposed to common pediatric orthopedic conditions in the Gillette ACOR clinic, which is akin to a pediatric orthopedic urgent care. Students will be expected to participate in didactics, the operating room, outpatient clinic, and on the ward. Call is taken at home and the call frequency is at the discretion of the student and resident team.

ORSU 7191-Orthopedic Trauma Surgery (HC): This course provides in-depth exposure to orthopedic trauma at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Students will function as a part of the resident team (4 PGY-3s, 2 PGY-5s) and learn the management of orthopedic trauma patients in the Emergency Department, the operating room, and on the inpatient ward. In addition, students will attend conferences, participate in outpatient clinics, and perform a formal case presentation. Students will take Level I adult and pediatric orthopedic trauma call in the hospital overnight with the resident, on average every fourth night. With a broad referral network and diverse patient population, students will gain experience in a wide range of orthopedic conditions. This rotation also allows for subspecialty exposures to trauma, hand, foot and ankle, and arthroplasty.

ORSU 7191-Orthopedic Trauma Surgery (RH): This course provides an in-depth exposure to orthopedic trauma at Regions Hospital in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Students will function as a part of the resident team (1 PGY-1, 4 PGY-2s, 1 PGY-5) and gain exposure to orthopedic care in the Emergency Department, operating room, on the ward, and in outpatient clinics.  Students will take Level I adult and pediatric orthopedic trauma call in the hospital overnight with the covering resident, on average every fourth night. Students will also have opportunities for exposures in subspecialties such as shoulder and elbow, foot and ankle, and arthroplasty.

ORSU 7192-Primary Care Orthopedics: Students will be observing and assisting orthopedic surgeons in a general orthopedic practice at Park Nicollet-Methodist Hospital. Upon completion, students should be able to perform a general and regional physical examination of the musculoskeletal system, be comfortable with common plaster splinting and casting techniques, including indications and possible complications, and participate as an assistant in common orthopedic surgical procedures.

ORSU 7550-Orthopedic Surgery and Otolaryngology for the Primary Care Provider: The orthopedic surgery component of the Ortho/ENT selective is two weeks and concentrates on the areas of general orthopedics, sports medicine, and pediatrics. This course is designed for students entering careers in primary care specialties and will provide students with perspective on the diagnosis and management of orthopedic conditions. Each elective will be geared toward the student's desired orthopedic interest. In all rotations, the student is expected to be involved in the clinic setting, pre-operative planning, assisting in the operating room, and postoperative patient management.

For students

Visiting Students

Note to medical students applying for the 2022 Residency Match: We will be offering visiting student rotations between June 28 and November 21.

View our rotation dates here. Visiting students applying for the 2022 Residency Match are encouraged to rotate during the S3, S4, F1, F2, and F3 periods. 

Please contact our Education team at if you have any questions. All visiting students must submit applications in VSAS.

Visiting Medical Student Scholarship for Underrepresented Populations in Orthopedics:
Our scholarship provides financial assistance for upcoming 3rd and 4th year medical students (class of 2022 and 2023) who are planning a career in orthopedic surgery, and want to do a four-week away rotation at our site. Diverse students whose backgrounds and/or identities are underrepresented in orthopedics are encouraged to apply. The chosen applicants will be given a stipend of $1,000 to be used towards their lodging and/or travel expenses. The deadline for AY 22/23 has been extended to April 15, 2022. 

Learn more and apply >>

Orthopedic Surgery Interest Group

Visit the OSIG website for information.

Additional Information

Please review our Medical Student Frequently Asked Questions brochure for more information. Email our Education team at if you need any further assistance.

For educators

The Department of Orthopedic Surgery has the responsibility of helping students establish a solid foundation of musculoskeletal knowledge. All attending physicians and residents should know and understand the objectives for the course. This sets expectations for the rotation and establishes an accurate and fair basis for evaluation. Educators should be familiar with the student reading list for the rotation. 

We encourage educators to sit down with the student to set expectations on the first day of the rotation. The session should include:

  • Going over the student's schedule
  • Understanding the student's learning goals
  • Clarifying your expectations of students regarding patient care
  • Informing students what you value in student performance

The clerkship committee expectations of students are detailed in the evaluation forms found on E*Value. Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to do the following:

  • Perform an adequate orthopedic history and physical examination of the musculoskeletal system, including assessment of joint motion and grading of muscle strength of the major muscle groups of the extremities
  • Use proper terminology to describe signs, symptoms, and treatment of common injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system
  • Develop a differential diagnosis of common orthopedic conditions and outline a treatment plan to establish the proper diagnosis, description of physical findings, and inclusion of pertinent laboratory, x-ray, and special studies
  • Be familiar with the application of splints and casts for common extremity injuries

Timely feedback from faculty and residents is critical. Feedback should address areas of strength as well as those needing improvement. Ideally, the feedback should provide the opportunity to identify and correct any issues noted during the course. Any potentially serious deficiencies in student performance should be brought to the attention of the site coordinator as early in the rotation as possible. You should also obtain formal mid-rotation feedback from the student.


The site director at each teaching site bears the primary responsibility for the development and maintenance of a program to fulfill the learning objectives of the orthopedic clerkship. The site director is responsible for organizing the specific ward and operative activities during the rotation, and is expected to address any issues or problems that are encountered. The site directors should periodically remind faculty members and residents of the objectives of the course. The site directors are also primarily responsible for the timely submission of student evaluations through e-value.

The attending physician has the primary responsibility for educating students in the ward, clinics, and operating room. All of the physician-teachers with whom the student has contact are expected to serve as positive role models. Faculty and residents are encouraged to provide students with positive direction through both questions and assignments. The students are expected to have read about the cases going on in the OR and faculty are encouraged to teach by asking questions and actively explaining different parts of the operative procedure to the student. In the clinics, give the students an opportunity to obtain their own history and physical examination, and provide feedback regarding this. The clinics and operating rooms are not only excellent sites for education, but are also a venue where potential future orthopedic careers begin. 

If possible, provide the student the opportunity to do a short presentation on a specific topic. Encourage preparation by students prior to clinics and operative sessions by engaging them and letting them actively participate in patient care.

For observers

If you are a medical student interested in observing one of our doctors, please contact our Education team at

You will be required to provide:

  • Current immunization records
  • Proof of current flu shot
  • Documentation of TB screening within the last 12 months