The mission of the Duke Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Training Program is to provide the trainee with the knowledge, clinical and surgical skills in all areas of orthopaedic surgery necessary to ethically practice for either academic or community practice at the highest possible level of competence by the completion of the training program.
The Duke Orthopaedic Surgery Residency is a comprehensive, five (5) year, ACGME-approved training program. In the first year, rotations are determined by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
which require six months devoted to non-orthopaedic surgery rotations including Multi-System Trauma, Surgical Intensive Care, Plastic Surgery, Vascular Surgery, Emergency Medicine, and Musculoskeletal Radiology. Six months are committed to Orthopaedic Surgery with Basic Surgical Skills provided longitudinally.
In years two through five, residents rotate through all the orthopaedic subspecialties at least twice – once as a junior resident and later as a senior/chief resident. The rotations are education-based with all residents having co-equal experiences on all services with graduated responsibility based on experience.
The Duke Orthopaedic Training Program has a long-standing commitment to addressing health issues in underserved communities both regionally and globally. Residents participate in outreach programs at Health Departments in eastern North Carolina as well as internationally in hospitals in Africa and the Caribbean.
The core curriculum consists of:
- One-on-one teaching which occurs in the form of tutorials in the clinic and the operating room. These tutorials involve one resident, one faculty member, and one patient. Clinical skills are developed incrementally and include history taking, musculoskeletal examination, interpretive skills, problem solving/ decision making, peri-operative planning, operative techniques and postoperative care.
- Didactic/socratic teaching occurs in eleven (11) weekly conferences consisting of four dedicated conferences: Grand Rounds, Faculty lectures, Trauma, and Orthopaedic Science, and seven subspecialty conferences including Adult Reconstruction, Hand/Upper Extremity, Foot/Ankle, Spine, Sports, Oncology, and Pediatric Orthopaedics. Each orthopaedic subspecialty hosts a monthly journal club. Residents participate in all dedicated conferences and as many as three subspecialty conferences weekly. Residents attend 350+ orthopaedic conferences each academic year.
- The program offers multiple opportunities for the orthopaedic resident to develop skills in clinical research. All residents participate in the preparation of scholarly presentations and manuscript(s) during residency. Over the last 25 years, over 200 Duke residents have presented 506 papers at regional, national, and international meetings and have published over 430 manuscripts in refereed journals.
Residents are exposed to additional venues in their orthopaedic training to further enrich their musculoskeletal education. Residents staff the training rooms of Duke University and North Carolina Central University athletic teams. Residents also serve as sideline team physicians to Duke and North Carolina Central University men’s and women’s intercollegiate teams as well as six local high schools. The Human Fresh Tissue Laboratory provides a unique opportunity for residents to master not only surgical anatomy and approaches but also to perform small and large joint arthroscopy(s), ligament reconstructions, total joint arthroplasty(s), tendon transfers, and other orthopaedic surgical procedures.
Upon graduation, all Duke orthopaedic residents become members in the Piedmont Orthopedic Society – the oldest and largest orthopaedic alumni association in America. Founded in 1951, this Society has over 600 members many of whom participate in an annual five-day scientific meeting. Over the years, this Society’s Foundation has awarded over 120 grants for residents in their research.
Orthopaedic education today is both a dynamic and evolutionary process - based not only on technological advances but also those innovative ideas spawned from clinical and basic science research. Integrated web-based curricula, informatics, and virtual technology all play important roles in this evolution in orthopaedic education. Nevertheless, history and tradition still provide a time-honored foundation to those fundamental ideals so necessary for educational success: a strong work ethic, team play, and a relentless passion for clinical medicine nurtured in a compelling atmosphere of collegiality and camaraderie.
William T. Hardaker, Jr., M.D.