MS4 Clerkship

Exposing Medical Students to Orthopedic Surgery Subspecialties

The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery welcomes visiting fourth-year medical students, though space is limited. We follow recommendations from the Coalition for Physician Accountability’s Work Group on Away Rotations.  

Application Process and Requirements 

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Nashville’s Meharry Medical College 4th year Medical Students are given first preference for our clerkships. Our Clerkship is a 4-week rotation, offered during the months of July, August, September, October, and November. Rotation dates follow the Vanderbilt MS4 Class Calendar.  

All applications must be submitted through the AAMC Visiting Student Learning Opportunities program (VSLO). Apply to General Orthopaedics, Orthopaedic Surgery. 

Please apply at least 8 weeks in advance. 

VSLO application season starts March 6, 2023. 

Rotation Dates for 2023: 
July 3, 2023 – July 28, 2023 
July 31, 2023 – August 25, 2023 
August 28, 2023 – September 22, 2023 
September 25, 2023 – October 20, 2023 
October 23, 2023 – November 17, 2023

 Vanderbilt Eligibility Requirements can be found here  

In addition to the Vanderbilt requirements, we require: 

  • Letter of Recommendation (ideally from an orthopaedic surgeon)  
  • Letter of Interest. 

Helpful information about our clerkship program: 

  • Availability for visiting students will open after Vanderbilt students are scheduled in May.  
  • Students are notified by email when they are accepted for a visiting student rotation. 
  • Visiting student elective complete applications are considered in order of receipt. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 
  • Indicate your first, second, and third choices of orthopedic subspecialties. If no preference is listed and you are confirmed as a visiting medical student, you will be placed on any available service. 

For more information about our clerkship program, contact our Program Manager at  

For more information about rotating at Vanderbilt, contact or visit their website

Program Overview 

Positions: Varies  
Duration: 4 weeks 
Locations: Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt Health Belle Meade, Vanderbilt Orthopaedics Franklin 

Our orthopedic surgery clerkships give you hands-on experience in all aspects of orthopedic surgery, helping you integrate medical and surgical knowledge by caring for patients with musculoskeletal conditions, including oncology and pediatrics, in both inpatient and outpatient settings. As part of our program, you will work as part of our multidisciplinary team, focusing on initial evaluation, preoperative and postoperative management, and intraoperative surgical procedures.  

As a visiting medical student, we consider you a candidate for our Orthopaedic Surgery Residency program. We complete formal residency program interviews during your month-long visiting rotation. 

You will be assigned a faculty advisor during your rotation.

Your course will include: 

  • Call: During your clerkship, you will share in the call experience, working independently to provide patients with casting, evaluations, and splinting.  
  • Didactic sessions: Through one-hour discussions each morning before surgical cases or clinic, you will participate in didactic sessions that will help you integrate medical and surgical knowledge in the care of patients. 
  • One day with our Program Director   
  • 2-week rotation on your 1st or 2nd choice subspecialty and 2-week rotation on your 2nd or 3rd choice subspecialty 

Residency Program Candidacy 

As a visiting medical student, we consider you a candidate for our Orthopaedic Surgery Residency program. We complete formal residency program interviews during your month-long visiting rotation. 

Subspecialty Clerkships 

Our orthopedic surgery clerkships provide exposure to one of eight subspecialties.

Adult Hand 

You will learn to provide initial evaluation, pre-operative, and post-operative management for adult hand surgery patients. Caring for patients with congenital hand deformities and musculoskeletal hand injuries, you will gain experience in both inpatient and outpatient settings.  

Adult Reconstructive Surgery 

Working alongside our joint replacement experts, you will improve your surgical knowledge in caring for orthopaedic patients. 

Adult Spine 

Through exposure to caring for patients with spine related deformities and injuries in the hospital and at outpatient clinics, we provide an introduction to outpatient assessment and inpatient management of people with a wide variety of spinal disorders.  

You will learn to properly assess patients with low back pain, and spinal injuries with neurological involvement. 

You will also participate in the emergent, preoperative, surgical, postoperative hospital, and outpatient diagnostic and therapeutic care of patients.   

Adult Trauma 

Working alongside our residents, you will help care for orthopedic trauma patients with musculoskeletal injuries. Through this experience, you will learn more about emergent, preoperative, surgical, postoperative hospital and outpatient diagnostic and therapeutic patient care. 

Foot & Ankle  

You will gain an in-depth understanding of the evaluation and management of: Arthritis, Common deformities, Neuropathy, Orthotic management, Pedorthic management, Sports-related injuries, Tendonopathies, and Fractures. 


You can expect to gain hands-on exposure to musculoskeletal oncology, learning the medical, pathological, radiological, and surgical aspects of patient care.  

Pediatric Orthopaedics  

Working in both inpatient and outpatient settings, you will assess and manage pediatric orthopedic surgical patients. With this exposure to patient care, you will learn decision making protocols, how to evaluate the child, pertinent history taking, and treatment options. 

Sports Medicine  

You will work in our Sports Medicine Center and the operating room, alongside our Attendings and residents, caring for patients with athletic injuries and all injuries of the knee and shoulder. 

You will work in our Sports Medicine Center and the operating room, alongside our Attendings and residents, caring for patients with athletic injuries and all injuries of the knee and shoulder.

Vanderbilt Department of Orthopaedic Surgery URiM Stipend Program 

The Vanderbilt Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is committed to professional development and recruitment of individuals under-represented in medicine as well as providing equal opportunity for applicants of all backgrounds. Specifically, our goal is to offer a program that supports the needs and growth of students from groups that have traditionally been underrepresented in orthopaedic surgery and who have the capacity to care for populations similar to our patients and community. 

The Vanderbilt Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is pleased to offer a stipend for 3 visiting students completing a 4-week sub-internship in orthopaedic surgery. The selected students will be granted up to $1000 in reimbursement to cover travel, housing, and other necessary expenses.  

As part of the program students will receive career advice including preparation for academic medicine, an interview for orthopaedic surgery residency program, and a letter of recommendation. Finally, the visiting scholar will have a chance to network with residents, faculty, students, and have access to all lectures, grand rounds, seminars, and skills labs.  


  • Rising 4th year medical students who attend US accredited medical schools or osteopathic schools. 
  • Self-identify from a background under-represented in medicine.  
  • Meet all other eligibility criteria as part of the VSLO application.  
  • Applications will not be accepted from non-US medical schools or from groups not underrepresented in medicine. 

Application Process 

  • Complete an application in VSLO for General Orthopaedics, Orthopaedic Surgery. Please be aware that all institutional requirements need to be met. 
  • Complete the VUMC URiM Visiting Scholar Program application
  • The application process opens March 9, 2023 and closes May 1, 2023 at 5 PM CST. 
  • There is no application fee. 
  • For more information or questions, contact our Program Manager at