The Rutgers NJMS Orthopaedic Trauma Fellowship is truly a hidden gem when it comes to orthopaedic trauma fellowships. The three attendings are gifted surgeons and dedicated educators who are truly invested in your education. As the only fellow, you are able to work with each attending, one on one, to go over cases pre-op, intra-op, and post-op. Additionally, as the only fellow, you can pick and choose the most complex cases each day without having to share with other fellows. The surgical case volume is appropriate, without compromising your ability to learn and discuss each case with the attendings.
Coming from a hands-on orthopaedic residency, the attendings modeled the fellowship program in order to polish and hone my surgical skills and decision making. The supervision within the operating room was appropriate, while allowing for me to grow as a surgeon throughout the year. The attendings are also very receptive to fellow feedback. During the year, my clinical responsibilities changed from a fellow run clinic to shadowing the attendings in their private clinics due to my feedback. Additionally, with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting my case volume, the attendings supported my education by providing a fresh cadaver to cover pelvic/acetabular dissection as well as other complex periarticular approaches. The attendings were willing to stay late after the day’s cases were completed in order to cover these dissections.
The fellowship also allows you to grow as an educator. Formally, the fellow runs a weekly morning journal club with the residents on the trauma team and every couple of months there is a journal club with the residents and attendings held off campus. Informally, the fellow is an integral part of the trauma team, helping to teach the residents and guide them with care of the more complex patients.
In the end, after my fellowship year at Rutgers, I was able to start an academic position at a level 1 trauma center without any hesitation or doubt and with all the tools I have learned from three great mentors, whom I have kept in close contact with.