With the changing delivery of orthopaedic surgical care, there is a need to define the knowledge and competencies that are expected of an orthopaedist providing general and/or acute orthopaedic care. This article provides a proposal for the knowledge and competencies needed for an orthopaedist to practice general and/or acute care orthopaedic surgery.
Using the modified Delphi method, the General Orthopaedic Competency Task Force consisting of stakeholders associated with general orthopaedic practice has proposed the core knowledge and competencies that should be maintained by orthopaedists who practice emergency and general orthopaedic surgery.
For relevancy to clinical practice, 2 basic sets of competencies were established. The assessment competencies pertain to the general knowledge needed to evaluate, investigate, and determine an overall management plan. The management competencies are generally procedural in nature and are divided into 2 groups. For the Management 1 group, the orthopaedist should be competent to provide definitive care including assessment, investigation, initial or emergency care, operative or nonoperative care, and follow-up. For the Management 2 group, the orthopaedist should be competent to assess, investigate, and commence timely non-emergency or emergency care and then either transfer the patient to the appropriate subspecialist’s care or provide definitive care based on the urgency of care, exceptional practice circumstance, or individual’s higher training. This may include some higher-level procedures usually performed by a subspecialist, but are consistent with one’s practice based on experience, practice environment, and/or specialty interest.
These competencies are the first step in defining the practice of general orthopaedic surgery including acute orthopaedic care. Further validation and discussion among educators, general orthopaedic surgeons, and subspecialists will ensure that these are relevant to clinical practice.
These competencies provide many stakeholders, including orthopaedic educators and orthopaedists, with what may be the minimum knowledge and competencies necessary to deliver acute and general orthopaedic care. This document is the first step in defining a practice-based standard for training programs and certification groups.