is too late to switch to ortho?

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10+ Year Member
Sep 30, 2007
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I am a 4th year medical student, and I have already applied to Radiology, and I'm currently doing a rotation in radiology, and not liking it very much. Primarily because it seems most of the stuff they read is very repetitive, and lacking challenge. Furthermore, it sometimes seems like all their work is inconsequential since it most clinicians, especially surgeons, can look at the study and figure out what the diagnosis is by themselves. I also realized, that as much as I'd want to, I cannot sit in front of a computer screen all day. I'm a definitely more of a doer, than a thinker.

I really miss my surgery rotation. I really enjoyed the OR. When there was some down time, I'd scrub in some ortho/neurosurgery cases, and I really liked a lot of the ortho cases..

Is it too late to start applying for ortho programs? I haven't done any rotations in ortho, and haven't worked with a single orthopedic surgeon for long enough to ask for a letter. At this point, what are my options? What would be the best thing to do?

Thanks in advance for the advice

EDIT: My Step 1 score is around 250, and I have a small publication in Radiology, and some research experience (no pubs) in General Surgery. I have strong letters from a general surgeon, radiologist (chair), and a dermatologist (chair) all saying i'll be a good radiologist.


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10+ Year Member
Jan 3, 2007
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You'll probly get interviews because of your step 1 score, but if you haven't done any rotations in ortho, and have no ortho letters, u might not match. If you've been interested in radiology, i wouldn't just write it off because of one rotation. Furthermore, every specialty has its own aspect of repitition...and considering you haven't done a long term ortho rotation, you might find you have the same qualms with it as radiology. I think you should speak with your ortho dpt head and see what he thinks. If i were you, i would stick with radiology, you can always do IR which won't have you sitting in the dark all day.


Large Member
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Oct 2, 2007
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When I was intern I couldn't wait for my month-long radi-holiday rotation. After the first week I felt I would soon be coming down with rickets and growing mushrooms. Then I found the interventional radiology lab. There's real patient interaction, good procedures and a lot more mental stimulation. I'd look to try that out before giving up.

Another plus - radiology is one of the only fields going towards working from home. The radiologists who read our clinic's MRI's all read from home, full time.

Getting into ortho at this point would be uphill for you, but it can't hurt anything to apply.