The Orthopaedic Technologist (OT) is a specifically trained allied health care individual who assists the orthopaedic surgeon in the practice of medicine. An OT is an extension of the orthopaedic surgeon and assists in the care of sick and disabled persons. OTs must have the ability to relate well to other people, be considerate of their conditions and able to communicate with patients in understanding their anxieties and fears. An OT is familiar with routine office and departmental procedures and is able to perform certain basic nursing functions.
An expert in plaster and synthetic cast application, an OT is responsible for instructing patients about the dangers of this form of treatment. An OT has the skill to remove casts with care and fragility, is equipped with the general principles of traction techniques, prepares or sets up specific types of traction requested by the orthopaedic surgeon and is able to assess patients in traction, detect deficiencies in the apparatus and make adjustments as necessary.
The OT may perform as a first assistant to the orthopaedic surgeon in the operating suite. To do this, OTs must understand medical and surgical asepsis. This would include preparing for surgical procedures, assembling and preparing the fracture table to the specifications of the orthopaedic surgeon.
The OT is able to fit and adjust canes, crutches and walkers, as well as giving patient instruction on the use of these walking aids. Other important responsibilities of the OT are the ability to apply simple braces, prosthetics, perform minor adjustments and repairs, as well as fabricate splints for various conditions under the direction of the orthopaedic surgeon.
All of these important duties fall under the realm of an Orthopaedic Technologist. NAOT is dedicated to the continued education of these important health professionals.