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 medical student coordinator, Alyssa Boos. 


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 primary care of both adult inpatients and outpatients with a major emphasis on reconstructive types of orthopedic surgery at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Students have a great deal of individual ward and surgical responsibility and will be expected to present their cases and function at the junior resident level. 

ORSU 7185-Externship in Orthopedic Surgery: This course provides comprehensive, detailed exposure to orthopedics with clinic and OR time in the orthopedic subspecialties. Students will learn proper terminology to describe common injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system, establish priorities of treatment, and participate as an assistant in common orthopedic surgery procedures, identifying indications and describing possible complications. This rotation will take place at the University of Minnesota Medical Center - Riverside, and the Clinics and Surgery Center.

ORSU 7188-Pediatric Orthopedics: This course provides an opportunity for students with a special interest in pediatric orthopedics and the care of children born with a musculoskeletal abnormality, including neuromuscular conditions. The rotation takes place at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare, which is a nationally recognized center for the treatment and management of pediatric conditions. Upon completion, students should understand the team role in the management of the multi-system problems of children with myelodysplasia and cerebral palsy.

ORSU 7191-Orthopedic Trauma Surgery: This course provides detailed exposure to orthopedic reconstruction and trauma at the student's choice of either Hennepin County Medical Center or Regions Hospital. Education includes inpatient service, rounds, conferences, surgery, and outpatient clinics. Hennepin County Medical Center is located in downtown Minneapolis and serves a diverse population. Here you will receive experience in the management of common fractures, orthopedic problems and their complications, as well as exposure to orthopedic reconstruction and trauma. Regions Hospital is a private hospital located in the east metro, and provides exposure to orthopedic trauma and joint reconstruction.

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

Contact our medical student coordinator, Alyssa Boos, if you are interested in doing an away rotation. All applications from LCME accredited schools are handled through VSAS. Refer to our medical school visiting student web page for additional details and requirements on away rotations here at the University of Minnesota.

A scholarship is available for visiting medical students that are underrepresented in the field of orthopedics. The application opens on September 1, 2019, and detailed instructions can be found here. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to our medical student coordinator, Alyssa Boos.


We use an electronic evaluation process for all medical students. The site director compiles a summative evaluation based on feedback received from other residents, attendings, and faculty.

Additional links

If you are in need of housing, see the temporary housing website. Please review our recommendations for a strong candidate to our program. No visiting student is automatically granted an interview with our program.

Email 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 medical student coordinator, Alyssa Boos.

In addition, you will be required to provide:

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