To ensure our residents become well-rounded orthopaedic surgeons, the residency program focuses on three main areas: clinical rotations, conferences and didactics and research. 

All residents will rotate through each subspecialty twice during their time at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, once as a junior-level resident and once as a senior-level resident. This allows our residents to be adequately exposed to all subspecialties prior to determining which they may wish to pursue for fellowship. Additionally, seeing a subspecialty as a senior resident provides new perspective and insight through the previous year’s training, enhancing the experience and optimizing educational benefit. 

Your first year of residency will be spent as a categorical orthopaedic surgery intern with rotations including:

  • General surgery
  • Emergency medicine
  • Plastic surgery
  • Clinical orthopaedic surgery
  • Orthopaedic research/physical medicine and rehabilitation
  • Research

Post-graduate years two through five are spent exclusively in orthopaedic surgery on various subspecialty services, including:

  • Pediatric orthopaedic surgery
  • Orthopaedic oncology
  • Foot and ankle surgery
  • Orthopaedic trauma
  • Total joint arthroplasty
  • Sports medicine
  • Hand, upper extremity
  • Microsurgery
  • Spine surgery

Each resident is eligible to sit for the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery certification exams after successfully completing the program.

Clinical Rotations

The Orthopaedic Surgery Residency program at Wake Forest University School of Medicine treats patients from western North Carolina and surrounding states at a variety of locations.

Most clinical rotations occur at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, a tertiary care center with Level I adult and pediatric trauma centers. The pediatric orthopaedic rotation occurs at Brenner's Children's, which is a part of the main campus in Winston-Salem, as does the orthopedic oncology rotation with our freestanding NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Rotation schedule for PGY-2 through PGY-5 year is as follows:

Grid outlining where each resident will rotate for each block from PGY-2 through PGY-5


In the last year of training, our residents have an elective rotation where they are allowed to work with the department to focus their training and interests. Many of our residents take advantage of this rotation and set up clinical experiences with local private practice physicians to see the differences between academic and private practice. Additionally, some have done international rotations while others focus on research. 'Mini-fellowships' within the department are also sought to gain further knowledge within a sub-specialty or area of interest such as brachial plexus, shoulder or joints.

Below is a list of the locations a resident can expect rotations to occur:

Research Opportunities

Clinical and basic science research is strongly encouraged during your orthopaedic residency. Our faculty is receptive and supportive of resident research projects, including the allocation of funding if no outside source is available.

Our residents begin their journey into becoming clinician-scientists within intern year where they are exposed to a one-month research block. During this time they begin to understand what opportunities are available within the department and what potential research interests they themselves wish to pursue.

During the PGY-3 and -4 years, each resident is given one day of research each week as a longitudinal research ‘block.’ This hopes to simulate how research is typically done and allow adequate time for the continuation and different stages of the research process from development, data collection/implementation, writing, submission and revision. 

Past Projects

Examples of projects residents have pursued include:

  • Orthopaedic tissue engineering of menisci, ligaments and tendons
  • Prospective clinical trials of orthopaedic trauma techniques
  • Clinical efficacy of platelet-rich plasma in sports medicine applications
  • A collaborative clinical efficiency trial with trauma surgery, emergency medicine and radiology in the implementation of an orthopaedic fracture checklist for initial management of orthopaedic patients

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorships are available for you to attend two national meetings annually at which your research papers have been accepted for presentation. Residents have presented at local, regional, national and international conferences such as:

  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery Annual Meeting
  • Orthopaedic Research Society Annual Surgery
  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Annual Meeting

Resident Research Day

At this annual event, sponsored by the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, chief residents present their completed papers, and a nationally known guest speaker presents several lectures and provides feedback to residents about their ongoing research projects.

The day concludes with a dinner reception in honor of the residents and guest lecturer.

Conferences and Didactics

Orthopaedic surgery residents at the School of Medicine have valuable opportunities to deepen their clinical knowledge and become a more confident physician. Our structured core conferences—weekly lectures given by the faculty and residents—emphasize the knowledge and information needed to be competent, well-rounded and excellent orthopaedic clinicians.

Orthopaedic Grand Rounds

Orthopaedic grand rounds is a department-wide event that consists of:

  • Case presentations
  • Monthly morbidity and mortality review
  • Guest lectures from visiting orthopaedists
  • Specialty updates
  • Lectures from hospital staff on topics such as ethics and business

Orthopaedic Subspecialty Conferences

The CORE curriculum at the School of Medicine is a two-year rotating schedule of "can’t miss" topics – those topics for which all orthopaedic surgeons should have knowledge and training – through all subspecialties. This occurs weekly and is given both by residents and faculty in a didactic and Socratic format. Here, residents enhance their orthopaedic fundamental knowledge, supplementing their time in the clinic and operating room to become a well-rounded orthopaedic clinician.

Additionally, as residents rotate on each service, you’ll attend subspecialty conferences run by individual divisions within the department. Topics include:

  • Oncology
  • Trauma
  • Hand
  • Spine
  • Foot and ankle
  • Adult reconstruction
  • Sports medicine
  • Pediatric

We also sponsor a monthly resident journal club. Additional subspecialty journal clubs occur where attendance is encouraged if you’re on service or interested in the topic.

Additional Learning Opportunities

Throughout the year, you’ll have further opportunities to complement your clinical training, including:

  • Anatomical dissections
  • Operative trauma cadaveric and saw-bone workshops
  • An annual musculoskeletal pathology review
  • Arthroscopy skills laboratories
  • Microsurgery skills laboratory

Research Symposia and Regional Resident Conference

We partner with other medical centers in the area to offer additional opportunities, including:

  • Annual Mid-Atlantic Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation
  • Resident Research Symposium
  • Southeastern Fracture Symposium