The Orthopedic Technician or Technologist will work with orthopedic surgeons to care for patients with injured bones and/or joints. The Orthopedic Tech is normally responsible for applying and removing casts, splints and braces. The Tech must also work with and teach the patients how to care for their injuries, understand and adjust traction equipment and be able to adjust walker, crutches and other aids. This may involve instructing the patient in the use of their equipment as well. Some Orthopedic Techs work in the operating room and aid the orthopedic surgeon in the setting of broken bones and fitting of prosthetic limbs. The OT is an extension of the Orthopedic Surgeon and may perform as a first assistant in the operating room. In order to do this, the OT must understand medical and surgical asepsis. This may include preparing the patient for surgical procedures, assembling and preparing the fracture table to the specs of the surgeon.
Strong knowledge of anatomy, physiology and medical terminology are a must for the Orthopedic Technician. They must be experts in the different materials and equipment involved in applying and removing casts, splints and braces. Good communication and people skills are necessary for working with patients and educating them in the care of their injuries and the use of equipment provided to help them. The OT has the skills to perform routine office and departmental procedures and perform basic nursing functions as well.
The position of OT may be physically demanding and emergencies can be very stressful. Nights and weekend shifts may be required if working in a hospital environment. Continuing education is necessary to remain current in the latest techniques and trends.
There is strong job growth predicted in this industry over the next few years as noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.