Review orthopedic surgery personal statement examples in 2023 and learn what is vital to include in your residency personal statement! Your personal statement is your chance to stand out to the admission’s teams and compliment all other components of your application by highlighting the qualities, skills and experiences you have that would make you a great orthopedic surgeon.
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Your personal statement for orthopedic surgery must not only detail your passion and qualifications as they relate to the field, but give the admission’s committee a good grasp of who you are as a person, and why you’d make an exceptional resident doctor in the field!
Orthopedic surgery is one of the most competitive residencies out there, and requires an incredible level of expertise, precision and dedication. Whether you’re Canadian and applying through CaRMS, or American/International and using ERAS, your Personal Statement is an integral portion of your application and should highlight several aspects of your personal experience, academic career, goals, values, and professional experience that, when all considered in combination, make you stand out as a candidate for orthopedic surgery residency!
What Should I Include—and Not Include—In My Personal Statement?
Firstly, you should always check to see what specific requirements are listed for your application. In general, most personal statement’s range from 750-850 words, and include the following details:
In just a few paragraphs, your personal statement should thoroughly detail why you’d be a great fit for residency in orthopedic surgery. When crafting your personal statement, it’s best to revise it several times to be sure that you don’t get sidetracked or include any irrelevant details. It’s also vital that you do not reiterate accomplishments that are listed on your residency CV or additional portions of your application and transcript. If you choose to utilize a few sentences your personal statement as an opportunity to address poor grades or gaps in your resume, ensure that you do so in a concise manner and in a way that flows with the rest of your statement. Addressing such issues is not mandatory, however, some students find that they are able to incorporate minor details in a professional way in their personal statement!
Check out these steps to writing a great personal statement:
Orthopedic Surgery Personal Statement Examples
“Although I had always appreciated and considered orthopedic surgery, it was the moment when I saw first-hand the way that a skilled orthopedic surgeon could change a patient’s life and help people in need that I knew I would be both ecstatic and honored to specialize in this field. This particular moment happened during my clinical rotation in general surgery during my third year of medical school—an orthopedic surgeon was called in to assist in a complex spinal operation—and I observed and assisted as required for the duration of the procedure. I was baffled, curious, and amazed to witness the difference in skillset and perspective between the two surgeons and I knew orthopedic surgery was far more specific and intense, which is what I’d hoped for. I believe I possess the knowledge, skills, and dedication that would make me an incredible orthopedic surgeon.
I have always been interested in medicine, and as a child I remember questioning everything ‘medical’ in the world around me. Whether it was the TV shows my family watched, or when I helped care for my younger siblings’ minor injuries, I enjoyed the premise of practicing medicine and helping others, but I had not yet discovered the broad range of other fields and types of practices that were possible for me to explore. When I got older, I became more interested in human anatomy and physiology, and I wanted to know why the body heals certain ailments, but requires expert surgeons and specific approaches to heal others. I knew then that the body was incredibly powerful and resilient, but I also came to realize that sometimes, some thing couldn’t be cured…but many ailments and injuries could be helped, and pain could be alleviated. It was then that I realized how much there was still to learn, and how many amazing areas of medicine there were for me to immerse myself in.
The field of orthopedics first piqued my interest when my mother was diagnosed with osteoarthritis several years before I entered my MD program. She had already had multiple surgeries on her hip after a long battle with various gymnastics injuries, but nothing seemed to help her pain or mobility problems that were only exasperated with age. My family noticed that she had started walking with a limp which made me realize that even though she was relatively young at this point in her life, it was important for her to continue working with doctors who could help her stay active despite the pain. When she underwent surgery with her incredible orthopedic surgeon and his team and has since made an incredible recovery. Throughout her journey, she was treated with respect, and acknowledges to this day that without a skilled orthopedic surgeon, she’d still be in daily pain, and likely, bedridden.
When I was nearly finished my undergraduate degree, I enjoyed volunteering at ‘Wheelers’, which was a recovery program hosted by Kinesiology students and professors, and the university hospital’s rehabilitation team that helped a great number of participants enjoy movement and physical therapy for the first time. Some participants were accident victims experiencing paralysis and awaiting further treatment, whereas others were recovering from orthopedic surgery for congenital conditions or due to accidents. I knew very quickly at this point that not only was I interested in pursuing medical school, but also, a career in helping people recover from ailments, accidents and injuries in a way nobody else could. It was also around this time that my mother received her diagnosis and began thinking about surgery, so, the two events fell hand-in-hand. Throughout medical school, I kept orthopedic surgery at the forefront of my mind and enjoyed completing my most recent elective in pediatric orthopedics, where I shadowed my supervising clinician and conducted patient interview with the parents and families of children who were diagnosed with several congenital disorders and injuries requiring the monitoring of an orthopedic surgeon, and/or requiring surgery. I was lucky enough to assist in 3 surgeries during this elective period and learned what incredible skills and dedication is required to be an orthopedic surgeon…and I’m excited to get there myself one day.
I’m confident in my ability to learn among experts, help patients, and perform all the duties of an orthopedic surgeon exceptionally during residency. I feel that my combined passion for medicine, enthusiasm about orthopedic surgery, exceptional GPA and curiosity surrounding the field would help me become a well-rounded, dedicated orthopedic surgeon and I would be lucky to learn from the best surgeons and colleagues.”
“Making a difference in the lives of those who come to me seeking help is what I strive to do in life. I want my career to impact others in a positive way, and I want to utilize my passion, enhance my skills and bring forth new ideas and expertise to a field that has had such meaning in my life. I feel that I would excel as an orthopedic surgery resident, and will one day, make a wonderful surgeon.
I knew I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon when I was in high school, after watching my uncle endure knee surgery. To some, this might not sound like a pivotal event, but it inspired me as a young person who had their sights set on medical school from an early age. My uncle became injured playing basketball with me, I watched my once-youthful and spry uncle, who had taught me how to play several sports suddenly become couch-ridden. Ice and rest weren’t helping him so, together, we visited a sports injury clinic, and my uncle was quickly referred to an orthopedic surgeon. This particular surgeon greeted my uncle with complete professionalism, assured him that although he had, in fact, torn his ACL and injured his Tibia quite extensively, that he was in great hands. Both this surgeon and my uncle inspired me to pursue this field at that point, because he showed me that good things can come from difficult situations, and that in life, injuries and accidents happen, but the right set of skilled hands can certainly have the potential to fix them. My uncle came out of surgery stronger than ever!
Throughout college and medical school, I have developed skills specifically related to orthopedic medicine. In college, my major was biomechanics—the study of how forces affect the human body during movement—which allowed me to develop an understanding of how muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments work together during movement and exercise. It was also during my undergraduate degree when I first met my (now) spouse and came to realize how much the right orthopedic surgeon can impact the life of a young person. She had been born with a rare case of congenital Scoliosis, and her family struggled to find a surgeon who could help her. Due to the nature of her curve, surgery was advised, but the surgeon handling her case missed the ‘window’ for surgery entirely. From that point on, she had to rely on bracing, exercise and other forms of physical therapy to handle her pain, but the degree of her curvature has unfortunately caused a ripple effect of other health issues in her 25 years of life thus far. Although she has never blamed her surgeon, she and I have discussed how different things might have been for her had she been provided with care from the best orthopedic surgery team possible. I realize that I will not be able to help every person in need—there is simply no way to do so—however, if as a surgeon, I can positively impact as many lives as I can, I would feel fulfilled.
During medical school, I took many courses related to sports medicine—including anatomy and physiology courses, as well as pharmacology courses that taught me how medications can help or hinder recovery from injuries or surgery. I was fortunate enough to be invited to partake in a short research study, focussing on X topic, with Dr. Smith at my medical school. He is a renowned researcher in the field of sports medicine, and I co-authored a paper highlighting our study’s findings with Dr. Smith and five of my colleagues late last year. Throughout my clinical rotations, although I felt empathic toward my patients who were in pain, I enjoyed the learning experience of addressing sports injuries and accident-related ailments, tears, sprains and fractures in emergency medicine. During my third-year clerkship, I was placed in general surgery, where I got to meet with patients before and after their procedure, and shadow various surgeons during each surgery. I have always been profoundly interested in surgery in its entirety, however, orthopedic surgery, I feel, has been my calling for some time now.
As a future orthopedic surgeon, I understand the importance of integrity and honesty in this field, and would conduct myself in a way that demonstrates both professionalism and compassion toward each patient, their situation, and their concerned family—just as my uncle’s surgeon did—and just as my spouse’s team failed to do. I am excited to immerse myself into this field, further enhance and develop my skills, and pave the way for future orthopedic surgeons as I advance in my career and set an example of exceptional professional conduct, surgical knowledge and expertise, and passion for orthopedic surgery.”
Looking for more examples of personal statements? Check out this video:
“During my junior year of college, I volunteered with my family chiropractor for a month. I hadn’t quite decided on a complete career path, but I knew I wanted to work with people who were experiencing muscle, bone, connective tissue and spinal cord issues related to an injury or illness. The central nervous system and the body’s ability to heal was something I always found astounding, but as much as I enjoyed chiropractic, but didn’t feel fulfilled by it. That same year, I opted to volunteer at the university hospital, under the direction of my older cousin, who is an orthopedic surgeon. After just a few weeks of shadowing both professionals, I learned a lot, I met several amazing patients and got a feel for both settings—but, I knew right away that medicine was the path for me, that I was born to be a surgeon, and more specifically, an orthopedic surgeon.
Throughout my medical school experience, I have demonstrated my interest and commitment to this field by doing rotations at various hospitals around the state, as well as working with several doctors in private practice who specialize in orthopedics and pediatric orthopedics, as well as several other areas of specialization. In addition to these experiences, I have also done extensive research on the latest developments within the field of orthopedic surgery and spinal cord injuries, and have presented my findings at conferences across the country, including XYZ conference in New York State last fall, and ABC medical conference in Wisconsin earlier this year, alongside Dr. Doe, a renowned pediatric orthopedist whom I had the pleasure to work with, and two of my colleagues who co-authored a paper of our findings with me.
My personal ties to orthopedic surgery run even deeper than my initial shadowing experiences and research; my father was treated by an amazing orthopedic surgeon and medical team for injuries he sustained during his military service overseas. He passed away two years ago from complications related to those injuries; however, he always said he felt like he received top-notch care from his orthopedic surgeon, and that the orthopedic surgery team who looked after him, gave him hope, and a few short years of better movement and a quality of life that was far better than what he’d had before becoming a patient at your hospital. I came to understand, through my father’s tragic experience, that not every patient recovers, but that every patient is worth a valiant effort, and the orthopedic surgery team demonstrated that mindset as they tirelessly cared for my father and tried to help him.
My passion for orthopedic surgery continued to flourish as I continued in medical school, and my recent interest in pediatric orthopedics stems from my clerkship in general surgery and my electives in orthopedic surgery. I met several newborns and young children—more than I’d anticipated meeting in a surgical setting—presenting with birth trauma, injuries, and even hip dysplasia, each of whom required a skilled orthopedic surgeon to step in and help treat, repair and realign their various ailments. The amazing surgeons I met and got to learn from gave these infants and children the opportunity (and freedom) to move without pain and a chance at normal development and healing. The expertise of each orthopedic surgeon was impressive, I admire them greatly, and I know that throughout each clerkship, elective and volunteer experience, I have been repeatedly drawn to orthopedic surgery. I am eager to fine tune my skills as an orthopedic surgeon and help each patient achieve the best results possible—whether they are a pediatric patient, a patient like my father, or any other patient in need.
My combination of academic, professional and personal skills and dedication to this field would make me an exceptional orthopedic surgeon. On my CV, you may notice a small gap, and I wanted to briefly detail that I did take a personal leave in the middle of my MD program in order to process the death of my father and grieve with my family in a healthy and timely manner. I felt that in order to continue to pursue medicine and complete my rotations and research to the best of my abilities, I required a considerable amount of time off. During this time, however, I spent many hours reflecting on my path, and concretely decided that orthopedic medicine was what I was meant to pursue; truly, I had always known this. I returned to my program determined to succeed, and I continue to start each day with the same determination and drive ever since.
I feel that my combined compassion, professionalism, academic success and research, along with my personal ties and appreciation for orthopedic medicine and surgery would make me an exemplary resident, and a fantastic orthopedic surgeon.”
1. Is my personal statement an important component of my residency application?
Your Personal Statement is a very important component of your residency application because it is your opportunity to share what makes you a qualified applicant worth consideration; in other words, your personal statement is your chance to really stand out among other applicants! Your personal statement is mandatory, and it’s also a chance for you to explain what drove you to pursue orthopedic surgery specifically, and provide any other relevant details that the admissions’ team might like to know.
Along with having a solid personal statement, having a strong CaRMS reference letter, or ERAS letter of recommendation, can increase your likeliness of standing out and can serve as a way to thoroughly detail your experience and skillset that makes you an exceptional candidate. And, just as it’s advised that you secure your references and recommendations early, you should also give yourself ample time to prepare a great personal statement in order to allow the opportunity for necessary revisions.
2. What is the difference between a residency CV and personal statement?
The purpose of your CV is to list and highlight your academic, extracurricular and professional achievements in a very easy-to-read format, typically 2-3 pages with bullet points. Your personal statement, however, is intended to share, in your own authentic voice, what makes you the best fir for your chosen field. You needn’t list your accomplishments or academic details in your personal statement, you may choose to briefly mention a relevant accomplishment, such as a publication or elective experience, however, the purpose of your personal statement is to share details about who you are as a person, and what you have done that specifically through your academic and professional journey that makes you a great fit for orthopedic surgery.
3. Is Orthopedic Surgery competitive?
Yes. Orthopedic Surgery is regarded as a competitive, and difficult, field. It is in demand, but requires extensive knowledge and expertise greater than what is required for other fields such as general surgery.
4. What should I include in my personal statement?
Your personal statement should include the following:
- A firm statement highlighting why you’re a good fit for residency in Orthopedic Surgery, including a bit about your background, passion and professional experience for context.
- Any brief description of personal ties you have to the field or specific hospital.
- Your professional goals and values.
- Any relevant details about your academic and/or professional achievements as they relate to the field.
5. How long should my personal statement be?
It can vary (always double check what your application requirements are!) but in general, 750-850 words is considered to be the common length for Personal Statements!
6. How do I format my personal statement?
Your format should be professional and easy to read. As with any academic applications or professional documents, you should avoid using fancy or obscure fonts and layouts. Stick to a classic font style and size, and ensure that your final copy has the appropriate spacing between each paragraph and is free of errors!
7. Do I have to write a personal statement for each program I apply to?
Most students apply to several programs within their speciality, and many may opt to apply to several specialities as well! Because of this, it’s advised that you prepare a personal statement for each specialty you are applying for. If you are only applying to orthopedic surgery, then you will require one personal statement. However, if you are interested in other specialties, make sure that you write a personal statement tailored to the other fields!
8. I require additional support to help me write a strong personal statement, where can I go?
BeMo Academic Consulting can help! BeMo,offers 1-on-1 preparatory services for students pursuing graduate school and professional programs, including medical school and residency! We offer services to help you prepare for your residency application process and beyond, including medical residency match consulting, OSCE prep, and residency interview preparation services.
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