Orthopaedic Surgery

UMKC Medical Student Elective Information

Orthopaedic Surgery Visiting Medical Student Electives

General Information

Welcome! Thank you for your interest in the UMKC Orthopedic Surgery Residency program. We offer senior medical students a one month elective rotation designed to provide a thorough and extensive exposure to academic orthopedic surgery to adequately prepare them for residency training.  Rotating students gain exposure to operating room procedures, diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal pathology in the emergency room, and evaluation and care of orthopedic surgery inpatients, and participate in the educational and didactic programs of the department. Students are paired with a faculty preceptor during the month-long educational experience.

We understand that as the time approaches for you all to select your away rotations and application season the stress and pressure continues to rise. At UMKC want to help ease your stress by providing some information that can be used at both our program as well as other programs to help during these stressful months.

All external rotators must apply through the standard VSLO (Visiting Student Learning Opportunities) to obtain medical school credit. Applications open March 1st and continue through November 1st .  Decisions are made within 2 weeks of receipt of the application.   Rotators are welcome during any of the UMKC blocks.  We request a CV and letter of interest.  No recommendation letter is required. Applicants must have passed USMLE Step One and be in good standing at an accredited medical school. Please contact Dora.Browne@uhkc.org to let us know you have applied.

Further information about the UMKC application process can be found at https://med.umkc.edu/sa/visiting/

A scholarship is available for those underrepresented in orthopedics including those who identify as women. Visit the ‘Visiting Elective Scholarship Program for URM Students‘ page for a more detailed description of this scholarship.

Elective Objectives

The elective is geared toward medical students interested in pursuing a career in orthopedic surgery. By the end of their elective rotation, students should be better able to:

  • List the various types of injuries and conditions treated by orthopedic surgeons both operatively and non-operatively
  • Perform a history and physical examination of a patient presenting with musculoskeletal complaints
  • Perform a primary and secondary survey of a poly-traumatized patient
  • Navigate the operating room and perform basic surgical skill like suturing, patient positioning, surgical retraction, applying dressings and splinting/casting
  • Carry-out routine patient care tasks, i.e. post-operative dressing changes, simple superficial wound closure and dressing, simple reductions and splinting under direct supervision
  • Interpret and critically evaluate the orthopedic surgery literature through participation in journal clubs and a formal end-of-rotation presentation on a topic of their choice
  • Present a routine orthopaedic patient concisely and accurately to an attending
  • Effectively communicate and work within a team

Clinical Training

Each clinical rotation is four weeks long working with faculty across multiple specialties including: Trauma, Spine, Hand, Shoulder and Elbow, Arthoplasty and Foot and Ankle. Students interested in participating on a pediatric rotation are welcome to apply at Children’s Mercy Hospital, our flagship hospital for the pediatric experience in the UMKC Residency Program. We attempt to match students with their interest while also providing exposure to our program leadership.

No matter which rotation you are on, you’ll get an opportunity to learn from an experienced team of orthopaedic specialists. Rotating medical students become vital members of their team, participating in rounds and providing clinical care in the emergency department and operating rooms. Rotators spend approximately 2 days per week in clinic and 3 in the operating room.  They work closely with our residents and are integrated into the team.

Each student is assigned a preceptor who is a full-time faculty member within the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. Students meet with their preceptor weekly throughout the rotation. Clinical time will be spent primarily with the academic faculty at University Health. Rotators have the opportunity to interact with our UMKC Chair, Program Director and Associate Program Directors, if available during the rotation. They are also able to visit the Kansas City Orthopedic Institute to meet with faculty.

University Health Truman Medical Center

Four weeks will be spent at this busy, urban Level-1 Trauma Center in the heart of Jackson County, Missouri. Students will have the opportunity to participate on a care-team coordinated by the chief resident. Students will receive roughly equal exposure to inpatient management, outpatient clinic and the operating room.

Students will also have the opportunity to participate in clinics and outpatient surgeries at our new state-of-art outpatient ambulatory care center across the street from University Health Truman Medical Center.

Call Responsibility

During the rotation, students are required to spend one night a week plus one weekend day on call for orthopedic surgery, assisting the orthopedic residents on call in the evaluation and management of acute orthopedic injuries and/or assisting surgical cases. Students should not attempt more than five calls for the month.

Didactic Program

Rotating medical students are active participants in the department’s didactic program.
Students are expected to be prepared for conferences and ready to answer questions tailored to their level and knowledge base. Additionally, they may participate in education and skill development sessions including splinting and casting workshop, sawbones and cadaver fracture fixation modules, and lesson on interpreting musculoskeletal imaging depending on timing of the rotation.

Students are expected to attend the dedicated didactics for the residents on Wednesdays from 6:30-9:30 a.m. at University Health Truman Medical Center and any additional labs or journal clubs.


As a requirement of the senior medical student elective, each rotating student develops and presents a didactic talk on a topic of interest at the end of the rotation. It is a power-point presentation and can cover any area of interest; however, students are encouraged to seek guidance from senior residents and/or faculty.  Nonorthopedic topics are encouraged as we hope this presentation will allow us to learn about the student. Prior topics of presentation include KC BBQ, Jazz, golf and German Shepherds.

Elective Schedule

The four-week elective is offered throughout the year. There are 3 student slots per rotation available. In the case of overflow, we make every effort to accommodate all qualified students.

Block Start End
1 5/29/2023 6/25/2023
2 6/26/2023 7/23/2023
3 7/24/2023 8/20/2023
4 8/21/2023 9/17/2023
5 9/18/2023 10/15/2023
6 10/16/2023 11/12/2023
7 11/13/2023 12/10/2023
8 12/11/2023 1/7/2024
9 1//8/2024 2/4/2024

Dates may be flexible depending on other accepted students rotations. Aligning with the UMKC dates is preferred. The most popular months for rotations are June, July, August and September. If you wish to join us during these months, early application is strongly encouraged.

If you have certain reasons for starting on a specific week and are interested in rotating, please contact us and we will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

Method of Evaluation

Rotating students are evaluated by the chief resident assigned to their service, their faculty preceptor and the clerkship director. The evaluation is based on performance during the rotation, including level of knowledge demonstrated during conference and in the operating room, the ability to work as part of the clinical care team, quality of interactions with patients and peers, professionalism, interpersonal communication skills and work ethic.

Written evaluations are completed at the end of the four-week rotation. An exit interview will be performed to provide direct, oral feedback. For mid-rotation feedback, students may contact a staff member or chief resident for comments so that improvements can be made prior to the end of the rotation.

In addition, students will be asked to submit an evaluation of their experience and faculty they worked with most closely. They will participate in an exit interview to provide direct, oral feedback with the clerkship director.

Those coming early in the application cycle will be eligible for letters of recommendation based on clinical performance.

Rotating students will not be asked to return in person for residency interviews. A future virtual interview may be offered or required.


We understand that this is stressful. With the lower cost of living in Kansas City it would be reasonable to expect to pay $1000-$1250.

Housing: We are not able to provide housing for visiting students. There is however, occasional housing on UMKC’s Volker Campus that is available for short term arrangements. This is about 4 miles from our University Health Medical Center so will require transportation. Other options for short term housing that our residents have used in the past include:

  • Rotating room (average $700/month)
  • AirBnB/VRBO
  • Hotel/motel
  • Family Friends

Transportation: Kansas City is quite spread out. Fortunately all of your clinical duties with us will take place in the Hospital Hill/Health Science district. Public transport is an option, but given the variable hours of an orthopaedic surgery rotation, a personal vehicle would enhance one’s experience of the city and is necessary to visit the Kansas City Orthopedic Institute.

Food: No meals are provided during the orthopedic rotation.

Clothes: At least 2 sets of dress clothes are recommended.  Hospital scrubs are issued for your time in the OR, however bringing some of your own scrubs, business casual, and business formal clothes is recommended.

Diversity Funding Opportunities

The UMKC Department of Orthopedic Surgery is committed to recruiting and training a diverse group of orthopedic residents that reflects the diversity of patients we serve. We encourage women and members of underrepresented minority groups to rotate with our department.  In addition to a robust clinical experience, recipients will also receive career support and development in the form of a faculty and resident mentor assignment during your rotation and an opportunity for one-on-one meetings with program leadership.

We also offer scholarships to defray the cost of travel and lodging during your time in Kansas City.  The department’s JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) Council evaluates applications and awards up to two $1,500 scholarships to deserving medical students recipients based on merit, scholarship, and need.

To be eligible to receive the scholarship students must be a full-time 3rd or 4th year medical student in good standing at an LCME-accredited medical school who identify as minority underrepresented in orthopedics. Students who are committed to working with underserved populations, or working with issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion are encouraged to apply. Requirements for the UMKC School of Medicine Clinical electives must also be met.

Applicants should apply to the orthopedic surgery elective through VSLO and complete the diversity scholarship application.

Click here for URM Scholarship Information