Founded in 1972, the Canadian Society Of Orthopaedic Technologists,
(C.S.O.T.), recognized the importance of identifying and credentialling
competent Orthopaedic Technologists.
Scroll down for the Scope of Practice and Job Description
IF YOU DON'T INCLUDE YOUR MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL FORM WHEN
PAYING YOUR FEES,
YOUR MEMBERSHIP WILL NOT BE PROCESSED. IF
YOU ARE REGISTERED, YOU MUST INCLUDE THE CEP FORM.***
|ENQUIRIES RE MEMBERSHIP
Westervelt College in London Ontario has been accredited by the CSOT and has received approval from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities for this brand new benchmark orthopaedic technician program. This program meets the standards and competencies for orthopaedic technician education. There are no other courses available that are recognized by the CSOT. The program started March and is a nine month course. Accolades to Alba Greco for the tremendous amount of work she did to bring this program to fruition!
A survey was sent to all employers in Canada and they see the need for and are willing to support this programme. All respondents agreed that the college being affiliated with the CSOT adds credibility to the programme. The number of candidates will be 15. No flooding of the industry will take place.
After successfully passing the college programme, all candidates will be required to pass the CSOT examination in order to receive their registration. All candidates will be expected to become Student members of the CSOT.
In the meantime, the majority of our members are trained in hospital via their orthopaedic surgeon and/or registered orthopaedic technologist, much like an apprenticeship programme. Once a person is working 850 hours per year, they are eligible for Full membership with the CSOT. Only full members can challenge the written, oral and practical exam. If successfully completed they are then known as a Registered Orthopaedic Technologist.
For more information about Westervelt College and their programs, please visit their website at www.westerveltcollege.com
If you do acquire a position in a hospital as a trainee, we recommend that you apply for Student membership with the CSOT. You would receive our journal, newsletter and other important information regarding the exam process.
A background in anatomy and physiology, nerves and muscles would be an asset. You could phone hospitals in your area to see if they would be willing to hire you as a student and train via the orthopaedic surgeon and/or registered orthopaedic technologist.
IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING CSOT MEMBERSHIP/REGISTRATION MISREPRESENTATION
- CLICK HERE
Immigrants to Canada, including
orthopaedic surgeons,should be aware
technician in a Canadian
hospital must be acquired
before you can
join the CSOT.
The CSOT is not set
up to assess foreign credentials
The CSOT is not a
nor an employment agency.
Oral and practical exams
Held each spring upon successful completion
of the written examination. The fee for the
oral and practical exams is $350.00. Once
you have started the practical portion of
your exam, you are allowed one
year ONLY to complete. IE if you take part
in the practical exam in the spring and fail a
redo exam is scheduled for the fall. If you
do not take part in the fall exam, you MUST
attend the next oral and practical exam.
If you choose not to you will be required
to do the complete exam not just the
portion(s) you failed
Dr. A. Beggs, SK
Dr. R. Buckley, AB
Dr. M. Catre, ON
Dr. E. English, ON
Dr. M. O'Brien, AB
Dr. M. Penner, BC
Dr. R. Russell, NL
Dr. J. Tumilty, NL
Canadian Society of Orthopaedic Technologists
Scope of Practice
Scope of Practice Statement
The practice of Orthopaedic Technology is the promotion of bone health and the provision of
safe, effective and ethical care in the treatment of orthopaedic conditions.
Orthopaedic technology is a challenging and demanding profession. Orthopaedic Technologists
function efficiently and in a professional manner in all aspects of patient care. As Allied Health Professionals, Orthopaedic Technologists work independently and collaboratively to provide care
and support to the patient. Members of the profession possess effective interpersonal and
communication skills and have patient care values which include compassion,respect, dignity,confidentiality and the patients right to privacy.
Delegated Controlled Medical Acts
Setting or casting a fracture of a bone or dislocation of a joint is a controlled act, delegated
by a physician.
Decision Making and Accountability
It is the technologist’s responsibility to acquire the knowledge and skills to meet the minimum requirements of a Registered Orthopaedic Technologist.
They must use professional judgement to practice within their level of competency.
Responsibilities of a Registered Orthopaedic Technologists
· Possess a knowledge of anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, orthopaedic conditions,
wound healing, fracture healing and complications.
· Understanding the principles of aseptic technique.
· Patient assessment.
· Teach patient and family regarding wound care, cast care and skin care based on
knowledge of potential problem and follow up assessment of the patient/family learning needs.
· Maintenance of orthopaedic equipment and supplies.
· Fabrication, application,adjustment and removal of orthopaedic devices.
· Assist in the application, maintenance and adjustment of skin, skeletal and manual traction.
· Record pertinent information and action taken on a patient’s chart in a clear, concise
and legible manner.
· Removal of sutures, staples, K-wires, pins and external fixators using appropriate technique.
· Applies, bivalves, wedges, windows and removes casts.
· Fabricate and apply a variety of splints and bandages using various materials.
Example; finger splints, wrist splints, Velpeau bandages, humeral splints, ankle/foot splints,
elbow and knee braces, as ordered by the physician
· Measure and fit patients for ambulatory aids. Instruct patients regarding their proper
use and care..
· Remove and apply wound dressings and assesses the condition of the wound prior to treatment.
· Apply specialized casts such as hinged casts, shoulder spica, hip spica and body casts.
· Assist physician with procedures such as closed reduction of fractures and minor
surgical procedures with or without anaesthetic, using sterile technique.
· Reinforce the teaching or medical information conveyed by the physician to the
patient/family regarding the specific injury, treatment plan, procedures and expected outcomes.
· Respond to telephone inquiries from patients by providing information or referring
the problem to the appropriate member of the health care team.
· Remain current in clinical practice, technological advances in the orthopaedic profession
and participates in ongoing education and development.
· Participate willingly in the instruction and demonstration of casting techniques to students
and other healthcare professionals such as medical students, interns and residents.
Orthopaedic Technologists’ goal is to provide excellent care and foster healthy relationships
within the health care setting to provide a positive outcome for the patient.
CODE OF ETHICS
1. Each member shall exercise conduct becoming to the professional position as an Orthopaedic Technician and Registered Orthopaedic Technologist.
2. Each member shall promote and expand the appropriate liaison between the medical profession and the Society.
3. Each member shall strive for the highest humanitarian standards.
4. Each member shall foster the growth of Orthopaedic Technology between
himself/herself, hospitals, nurses and other paramedical specialties.
5. Each member shall exhibit the same ethical and moral standards outside
his/her profession as within and shall be ever conscious that his/her reputation
is that of the Society.
6. Each member shall not be convicted of a criminal offense to a degree contrary
to the morals of the profession of Orthopaedic technology
The board shall have authority to suspend or expel any member from the Corporation for any one or
more of the following grounds:
• violating any provision of the articles, by-laws, or written policies of the Corporation;
• carrying out any conduct which may be detrimental to the Corporation as determined by the
board in its sole discretion;
• for any other reason that the board in its sole and absolute discretion considers to be reasonable,
having regard to the purpose of the Corporation.
• Fraud or misrepresentation on obtaining membership in the society
In the event that the board determines that a member should be expelled or suspended from membership
in the Corporation, the president, or such other officer as may be designated by the board, shall provide
twenty (20) days notice of suspension or expulsion to the member and shall provide reasons for the
proposed suspension or expulsion. The member may make written submissions to the president, or
such other officer as may be designated by the board, in response to the notice received within such
twenty (20) day period. In the event that no written submissions are received by the president, the
president, or such other officer as may be designated by the board, may proceed to notify the member
that the member is suspended or expelled from membership in the Corporation. If written submissions
are received in accordance with this section, the board will consider such submissions in arriving at a
final decision and shall notify the member concerning such final decision within a further twenty (20) days
from the date of receipt of the submissions. The board’s decision shall be final and binding on the member,
without any further right of appeal.
Orthopaedic Technician - A person gainfully employed and actively working in the
fracture / cast / emergency room of a Canadian Hospital for at least one year (minimum 850 hours per year)
and has NOTcompleted the CSOT registry examination process.
Registered Orthopaedic Technologist (R.T.Orthopaed) - a person who has successfully completed
the written, oral and practical examinations of the CSOT, has current membership in the Society
and maintains certification through the continuing educational programme.
What Is An Orthopaedic Technician/Technologist?
Orthopaedic Technicians/Technologists are medically trained individuals who work under the direction of
physicians and in collaboration with other members of the health care team of professionals. They are
experts in plaster and synthetic cast application and are responsible for instructing patients on this form of treatment. They provide care to clients with orthopaedic problems through the application, adjustment
and removal of a variety of casts, splints and traction fittings. Orthopaedic technologists perform casting
services primarily in hospital fracture rooms. Some medical clinics now offer limited orthopaedic services
as well. The duties of orthopaedic technicians/technologists vary from one place of employment to another
and may include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:
- applies and removes dressings, assesses condition of the wound prior to further treatment.
Consults with physicians for further orders when problems are identified. Debride wounds as directed
- cast application - using plaster or synthetic materials. This involves adjusting, removing, repairing,
bivalving, wedging and windowing of casts
- measure and fit patients for orthopaedic devices and ambulatory aids. Instruct patients regarding
care and proper use
- Assist in the application, maintenance and adjustment of traction (skin, skeletal and manual).
This includes patient education of traction therapy.
- remove sutures, K wires, pins and external fixators using sterile technique
- fabricate and apply splints and bandages (ie., finger splints, wrist splints, velpeau bandages, pressure dressings, humeral splints, knee splints, etc.)
- instruct patient/family in the care of the cast, slab or brace as well as skin care. Reinforce the
teaching of the medical information given by the physician regarding the specific injury, treatment
plan, procedure and expected outcomes
- order and maintain equipment. Manage orthopaedic supplies
- collaborate with other health care professionals such as physicians, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, as required
- interact with other departments (medical records, radiology, service coordination) to obtain the
resources needed to assist in patient care
- establish effective helping relationships with patient and family
- responsible for patient visit assessment maintaining patient dignity and confidentiality
- provide on the job instruction and demonstration of casting techniques to other health
professionals (medical students, interns, residents) on request
- charting, documentation and maintaining accurate notes and records
- participate in ongoing education and development
- Is certified in the Added Nursing Skills and Sanctioned Delegated Medical Acts defined
for the orthopaedic clinic area
JOB DESCRIPTION FOR ORTHOPAEDIC TECHNOLOGISTS 2010 - please scroll down to see
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TECHNICIAN, REGISTERED ORTHOPAEDIC TECHNOLOGIST
ADVANCED REGISTERED ORTHOPAEDIC
This job description outlines the duties and responsibilities of an Orthopaedic Technologist and
can be used as a guideline for updating and creating job descriptions at your respective place of
Summary of Duties: The Orthopaedic Technologist is a
paramedically trained individual who performs
their duties under the
direction of a Physician. The Orthopaedic Technologist collaborates
members of the health care team, primarily in the orthopaedic department, and occasionally in other
areas such as the Plastic Surgery
and Emergency Departments. Casting services are provided to both
inpatients and outpatients, usually in the orthopaedic clinic, but also
as needed in the inpatient areas
and operating rooms.
The Orthopaedic Technologist organizes the workload and
fulfills the responsibilities of the position with
a high degree of
autonomy, within established guidelines and procedures.
Clinical direction and support
are provided by the attending
physicians or house staff for unexpected or unusual clinical problems.
The Orthopaedic Technician/Technologist works in compliance
with the provisions of the Occupational
Health and Safety Act
and adheres to all Health and Safety policies, procedures and
by management. Responsible for recognizing
unsafe work practices and other potential hazards in the
and for reporting these situations to the supervisor.
Orthopaedic Technicians/Technologists are under the controlled medical act
delegated by a
Physician (Regulated Health Professions Act).
The Registered Orthopaedic Technologist is able to practice
independently in collaboration with the physician.
This job description indicates the conditions under which they
perform their duties, but their duties
are not set forth for
limiting the assignment of work.
To perform their duties the Orthopaedic Technologist must
have basic knowledge of:
1. Anatomy and physiology related to orthopaedics
2. Orthopaedic diseases and related principles of patient care
3. Orthopaedic injuries and related principles of patient care
4. Basic nursing functions
5. Aseptic techniques
6. Their responsibilities as related to legal and medical ethics
7. Office, departmental and hospital procedures.
Under the direction of a Physician
l. The Orthopaedic Technologist:
1.1 Is responsible for cast application, adjustment and removal.
The repairing of casts, application of walking devices, univalving, bivalving,
wedging and windowing of casts.
1.2 applies and removes dressings, assesses condition of the wound
prior to further treatment. Consults with the physician for further
orders when problems are identified.
1.3 Measuring and fitting patients for orthopaedic devices and
ambulatory aids. Instruct patients regarding care and proper use.
Assists in the application, maintenance and adjustment of traction
(skin, skeletal and manual). This includes patient education of
1.4 removes staples, sutures, K-wires, pins and external fixators
using appropriate technique
1.5 is responsible for maintenance of orthopaedic equipment
and the use of such, and the management of orthopaedic supplies.
1.6 fabricates and applies required splints and bandages using
various materials, e.g., finger splints, wrist splints, velpeau bandages,
pressure dressings, humeral splints, knee splints, etc.
1.7 applies specialized casts, i.e., fracture brace, body cast, hip spicas
1.8 Assists physician with procedures, ie., closed reductions,
minor surgical treatment with or without anaesthetic using
sterile technique. This includes the preparation of surgical trays
and medications required for the procedure
1.9 is responsible for patient visit assessment,
maintaining patient dignity and confidentiality
1.10 is responsible for charting and documentation and
maintaining accurate notes and records
1.11 Is certified in the Added Nursing Skills and Sanctioned
Delegated Medical Acts defined for the Orthopaedic Clinic Area.
EXPANDED DUTIES - these duties and responsibilities may not
necessarily be practiced in all health
by the orthopaedic technologist and may require
• Custom knee bracing (should include a certified fitter's course)
• Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS)
• application, maintenance and removal of Halo body vest only. This does notinclude application or maintenance of Halo ring and pins (should include certification of training)
2. The Orthopaedic Technologist provides patient/family teaching:
2.1 independently teaches patient/family care of cast, slab or brace,
and care of skin, based on knowledge of potential problems and
follow up assessment of the patient/family learning needs
2.2 reinforces the teaching or medical information conveyed by
the physician to the patient/family regarding the specific injury,
treatment plan, procedures and expected outcomes. Establishes
effective helping relationships with patients and families
2.3 responds to telephone enquiries from patients/families by
providing information or referring the problem to the appropriate
member of the health care team
3. The Orthopaedic Technologist functions collaboratively with other
members of the health care team:
3.1 utilizes interpersonal and communication skills to establish
effective helping relationships with patients/families
3.2 effectively organizes workload and sets priorities to provide timely
care to patients on the high volume, rapid turnover orthopaedic
3.3 collaborates with health professionals such as physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists as required, to
provide optimum patient care
3.4 interacts regularly with support service departments such as
medical records, radiology,
and service coordination to
obtain needed resources and to facilitate the flow of patient care
4. The Orthopaedic Technologist participates in ongoing education
4.1 participates in the C.S.O.T. Biennial Convention, chapter meetings,
programme the journal BodyCast and the newsletter NewsCast
4.2 completes self-appraisal and identifies performance objectives
4.3 identifies and seeks opportunities to meet own learning needs
4.4 keeps informed of changes in casting equipment and materials,
and new procedures in accordance with the orthopaedic surgeons'
4.5 Registered Orthopaedic Technologists maintain annual
re-certification as mandated by the C.S.O.T.
4.6 provides on-the-job instruction and demonstration of casting
techniques to other health professionals, such as medical students,
interns or residents, on request
1. Full Membership is available to all persons who are gainfully
employed and actively working in the orthopaedic fracture clinic, emergency room and/or cast room of a Canadian Hospital and have
done so for
at least ONE FULL YEAR (minimum of 850 hours per year).
They should be able to carry out these procedures with a minimum
amount of direct supervision.
This is the only category of membership eligible to complete
the written, oral and practical exams.
Sponsorship of an Orthopaedic Surgeon must accompany application
for membership in this category. Members of this classification should
be striving for reclassification as a REGISTERED ORTHOPAEDIC
Registered: A Registered Orthopaedic Technologist (R.T. Orthopaed)
is a person who has successfully completed the written, oral and
practical examinations of the CSOT, has current membership in the
Society and maintains certification through the continuing
Advanced Registered Orthopaedic Technologist: A person who has current membership in the Society; maintains certification through the continuing education programme with at least eight (8) years full time work experience in a Canadian Hospital and working in the fracture/cast/emergency
clinic directly in the care of orthopaedic patients; registered with the CSOT for not less than five years full time and has attended at least one National CSOT Conference. Written verification from your Orthopaedic Surgeon/Emergency Physician as well as your Manager is mandatory.
Full Member (Orthopaedic Technician): A person gainfully employed
and actively working in the orthopaedic fracture clinic, emergency room
and/or cast room of a Canadian Hospital and have done so for at least ONE FULL YEAR (minimum of 850 hours per year)and has not completed
the examination process.
Associate: A person working in fields related to orthopaedic
technology or who reside and practice outside Canada.
Is not working 850 hours per year in the orthopaedic fracture
and/or cast room. Ineligible to write the exams.
Industrial: A person engaged in the manufacture or sale
of orthopaedic equipment or supplies.
Ineligible to write the exams.
Student: Is available to persons in the process of being
trained "in hospital" via an orthopaedic surgeon
and/or registered orthopaedic technologist or a student at Westervelt College. Student membership is only valid for three years and must be renewed yearly.
Ineligible to write the exams.
3. The CSOT recommends that a Delegated Medical Acts form
certifying that the member has been
and is competent to perform certain procedures as authorized
by the hospital be issued annually.
The Orthopaedic Technologist is an extension of the
Orthopaedic Surgeon and/or Physician and assists
them in the
care of the sick and disabled persons.
The Technologist must relate well to other people and
and considerate of their condition. They are able to communicate
with patients in
understanding their anxieties and allaying their fears.
This job description is a composite of the task which the
Orthopaedic Technologist is trained to undertake.
There need not,
however, be complete agreement among Orthopaedic Surgeons
on the tasks they feel
should be delegated. Nor does this description
prohibit the Orthopaedic Surgeon from delegating
not covered if such delegation meets the approval of the medical
if the technologist has the required skills and ability.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TECHNICIAN, REGISTERED ORTHOPAEDIC TECHNOLOGIST
AND AN ADVANCED REGISTERED ORTHOPAEDIC
Registered Orthopaedic Technologists have been assuming
responsibility each year for a number
of health services classified
as delegated medical acts. They integrate these services into their
daily practice in the Fracture Clinic, Operating Room,
Emergency Room and private practice and have
unique body of knowledge and practical skills pertaining to
• Basic understanding of anatomical structures and their
relationship with one another;
• Ability to accurately describe orthopaedic conditions.
• Ability to apply and remove all types of casts, splints
and orthopaedic devices under the direct supervision of a
Registered Orthopaedic Technologist and/or Physician
• Understanding of theory and application of skin and skeletal traction.
• Understanding of the proper application of aseptic technique
in dressing change, pin and suture removal, setting up surgical fields.
• Instructs patients in the care of casts and orthopaedic devices
REGISTERED ORTHOPAEDIC TECHNOLOGIST
• Wider body of knowledge of anatomical structures and their
relationship with one another, able to articulately describe
• Ability to apply, adjust and remove all common orthopaedic devices
• Increased knowledge of theory and application of skin,
skeletal and manual traction.
• Increased knowledge of the proper application of aseptic
technique in dressing change, removal of sutures, staples,
pins and wires and setting up surgical fields
• Ability to interpret common fractures and dislocations on X-ray film.
• Ability to perform in an operating room environment.
• Ability to supervise and train students and orthopaedic technicians.
• Ability to apply specialty casts, ie., hinged casts and assist
in special procedures such as advanced wound care and fracture
• Are able to work unsupervised
• Can take verbal orders
• Can preceptor students
• Has a proven knowledge base, skills and expertise that will
benefit the patient and the hospital they serve
• has successfully completed the written, oral and practical
examinations of the governing body, The Canadian Society of
Orthopaedic Technologists (CSOT)
• must continue their education to maintain their certification
with the CSOT. This is mandatory to keep certification up to date.
Continuing education units must be accumulated on an annual basis
ADVANCED REGISTERED ORTHOPAEDIC TECHNOLOGIST
Performs all of the above and has
• Advanced body of knowledge of anatomical structures and
their relationship with one another, able to articulately describe
• Ability to apply, adjust and remove all common and
difficult orthopaedic devices
• Advanced knowledge of theory and application of skin,
skeletal and manual traction
• Advanced knowledge of the proper application of
aseptic technique in dressing change, removal of sutures,
staples, pins and wires and setting up surgical fields
• Ability to interpret most fractures and dislocations on X-ray film
• Expert ability to apply specialty casts, ie., hinged casts, total contact casts and assist in special procedures such as advanced wound care
and fracture reductions
Advanced Clinical and Practical Knowledge
• Serves as a technical expert to hospitals, physicians,
students, orthopaedic technicians and other registered orthopaedic
technologists in matters pertaining to orthopaedic devices and
• Sets up and teaches patients and their families for home treatments
• Instructs others in the practice of orthopaedic technology
• Educates the public in the role of an orthopaedic technician
and registered orthopaedic technologist
Refer to Guidelines for Orthopaedic Technology for further
The Registered Orthopaedic Technologist and the Orthopaedic
Technician base practice on orthopaedic
science and on content
relevant to orthopaedic technology. The Registered Orthopaedic
continues to learn throughout their professional
High School graduate or equivalent
Apprenticeship programme and sponsorship by an Orthopaedic
Physician or student at Westervelt College
Nursing and Medical background an asset and recommended by the CSOT
The only orthopaedic technician/technologist course available that is recognized by the CSOT is at
Westervelt College in London Ontario. Some of our members are trained in hospital via their orthopaedic surgeon and/or registered orthopaedic
Once a person is hired as a 'trainee/apprentice' - Student membership should be taken with the CSOT.
Student membership is valid for three years after which time Associate membership or Full membership
must be taken.
Orthopaedic Technicians should be striving to gain
certification by completing the written,
oral and practical exam
of the CSOT. Individuals joining the CSOT should do so with
in mind, knowing that this is the highest standard
one may achieve within their field as a Registered
orthopaedic technologist in Canada.
The Registered Orthopaedic Technologist and the Orthopaedic Technician both provide care to clients with orthopaedic problems, and the clients' family members in some situations. All Technologists and
Technicians are accountable individually for their decisions and
actions, whether they act independently or in consultation and
collaboration with other members of the health care team.
EXAMINATION FOR REGISTRATION
Candidates for the examination must be FULL MEMBERS of the
A Full member is one who is gainfully employed and actively
working full time
(a minimum of 850 hours per year),
applying casts and traction assemblies in an
in a Canadian Institution and has
been sponsored by an Orthopaedic Surgeon.
The written exam takes place in October each year.
Members joining after JULY 1st will not be eligible to take part in
the October written exam.
The written exam must be successfully
completed before you may proceed on to the oral and practical exams.
Membership must be paid in full before exams can commence.
There are three parts to this Registration exam; Written, Oral
and Practical. The passing mark is 70 per cent.
Once the examination process has been
started it must be completed in a specific time period.
Upon successfully completing all parts of the examination
you are entitled to be known as a
"Registered Orthopaedic Technologist". (R.T. Orthopaed).
IMPORTANT LETTERS FROM THE COA
September 24, 2013
Please know that the registered orthopaedic technologists that I have had the pleasure of working with over the last 20
years have been invaluable to my career and the care of my patients. They have been a great source of learning and
knowledge in this very specific field of orthopaedics. The knowledge, experience and training that all of the registered
technologists possess cannot be learned by anybody undergoing a crash course, as has been proposed in some
hospitals across Canada. Doing so would pose a very real high risk of 'misadventure' and potentially lead to loss of limb
in some patients as a worse case scenario. At the very least, the use of poorly trained and inexperienced allied health
care workers to replace experienced and knowledgeable registered orthopaedic technologists would undoubtedly
lead to unnecessary pain and suffering to many patients, and very likely lead to a prolonged period of healing and recovery.
I am very strongly opposed to replacing our invaluable registered orthopaedic technologists with poorly trained
allied health care workers. I very strongly stand in support of our orthopaedic technologists in their indispensable
role in the care of orthopaedic patients.
Please forward this letter to all stakeholders in this very serious matter.
Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
Toronto East General Hospital
August 14, 2013
I was concerned on my return from my summer vacation when I read your correspondence notifying me and the
other COA advisors in regard to what appears to be a trend to reduce or eliminate the orthopaedic technologists' clinical role.
It appears that hospitals and even Ministries of Health in different provinces are starting to identify areas, which they feel
that they can cost-save. The decisions that have been made and seem to be continuing to be made cannot be made
sensibly in relationship to medical care but only can be made as a result of an effort to save money and reduce staff positions.
In my experience, the medical knowledge and experience of your members working in association with the rest of
the orthopaedic team makes it possible to process and treat the ever increasing number of patients that are presented to the emergency department for orthopaedic injuries. It is not physically possible for the orthopaedic surgeons in Canada to
process the significant number of patients that need to be dealt with on a daily basis. The orthopaedic technologists
have made it possible to at least keep up with the increased demands.
There are significant risks and possible complications from the types of treatment that are administered for the
musculoskeletal injuries treated in a busy emergency department. The quality of treatment of the orthopaedic injuries in a busy emergency department has to be maintained. Only properly trained people can administer this type of treatment and avoid the significant risks that are possible. The COA has recognized for several years the need to train highly qualified people
with experience to assist in the management of these types of injuries. It would be unfathomable that someone with
lesser knowledge, experience and skill could carry out this work efficiently.
If you consider all other areas of medicine in today's emerging hospital system, there are innumerable trained people
carrying out very specialized investigations and clinical procedures for physicians. None of these jobs can be carried
out by untrained personnel. It appears that in an effort to cut costs, decisions are being made by people who do not have a full understanding of the responsibilities of the orthopaedic technologists. The CSOT was set up and fostered by the
COA members in 1972. The Canadian Orthopaedic Association has encouraged your group to maintain standards
in an effort to avoid injury and an increase in care quality in the outpatient and inpatient areas of the hospital. The orthopaedic technologists are crucial to patient care in a busy orthopaedic/emergency practice. Having unskilled people with
limited knowledge is putting patients, hospitals and the health care system at risk.
I would encourage your group to continue all efforts to maintain the quality of the registered orthopaedic technologists
in the hospitals to maintain the standard of care that Canadians expect from their health care system. One or two minor
mistakes carried out by people who have limited knowledge could lead to loss of any expected financial savings.
Only knowledgeable, skilled people who have achieved an element of learning and knowledge should be carrying
out the type of work that your members perform on a daily basis. You have established standards of knowledge and
care that must be maintained. Anyone who carries out these medical acts must reach your standards.
Dr. Edward English
August 7, 2013
It has come to my attention having just been appointed to the Board of the CSOT that some disturbing trends are
emerging in Western Canada with respect to cast care by non-registered and insufficiently trained personnel.
Apparently, the physiotherapists are being given short courses on cast application and then being expected to perform duties traditionally performed by registered orthopaedic technologists. It goes without saying that registered technologists,
having undergone extensive training and amassing extensive experience under the direct supervision of both orthopaedic
surgeons and other registered technologists, are far more qualified in the application of casting and the care of orthopaedic
trauma patients than a physiotherapist in the same circumstance.
Physiotherapists have specific training regarding the rehabilitation of patients and I think their scope of practice
should remain as such.
As practicing orthopaedic surgeons with busy fracture clinics, we rely heavily on the expertise and training of our
registered orthopaedic technologists for cast application and other duties related to their specific area of training
and experience. I cannot and will not support the use of untrained or insufficiently trained personnel to fill the
role of the registered orthopaedic technologist in any clinical setting whatsoever.
Joseph A Tumilty,
James Paton Memorial Hospital, Newfoundland
It is with dismay that I read the letter that you have sent to the COA Advisors. The CSOT Board of Directors had some
bad news from Manitoba and there is more correspondence from the orthopaedic technologists at the University of Alberta
Emergency Dept. As we have stated many times, we feel that it is imperative that the orthopaedic technologists be involved
with hands' on care after their careful and extensive training. Other types of pathways towards a similar job do not meet the
same standards of qualification and accreditation as has been set by the CSOT. Quality of care cannot be maintained by
shortcuts, short courses and less than adequate care in this very significant area of orthopaedic expertise.
Orthopaedic technologists are trained for boney and soft tissue management, using splints, casts and traction and what
is being done in certain jurisdictions is unacceptable.
I certainly endorse your Board of Directors initiative which is to establish again the clear role of the qualified Registered
Orthopaedic Technolgist and the value that this position brings to an academic hospital institution. I am more than happy
to help you out in whatever way possible to ensure that this high level of care continues.
Richard E. Buckley,
Foothills Medical Centre,
Head, orthopaedic trauma surgery, University of Calgary,
Regarding recent documentation sent to COA advisors with regards to the impact on the practice of Registered Orthopaedic Technologists. The current Provincial trend and attitude towards a Registered Orthopaedic Technologist is quite disturbing.
The lack of knowledge and respect that is directed towards the profession by Provincial Health Care Authorities has become
quite evident. The standards that have to be met to become a Registered Orthopaedic Technologist are quite unique to
this profession and are not standards that are possessed by any other health care profession.
I have significant concerns how not having a Registered Orthopaedic Technologist would affect both my clinical in-hospital
fracture practice as well as inpatient practice given their scope of ability. My feeling is that they play a crucial role in
current management of any orthopaedic practice. Not only does this place extra workload on already busy orthopaedic
practices but on busy orthopaedic surgeons as well. There are issues of liability when non registered individuals are
involved in any application of management of orthopaedic trauma.
James Paton Memorial Hospital, Gander NF
Registered Orthopaedic Technologists
skilled hands in the front lines
Ross Leighton, M.D. FRCSC, Past President
Canadian Orthopaedic Association, Halifax, N.S.
As printed in the COA Bulletin, Spring 2012
Many hands make light work, as the old saying goes, and never more so than when those
helping hands belong to registered orthopaedic technologists. In fracture clinics and some
emergency rooms, typically overflowing with patients, they do yeoman's service splinting
and casting limbs, allowing surgeons to see more patients and fully focus on their injuries.
Registered Orthopaedic Technologists are an integral part of delivering quality orthopaedic
care in Canada.
Since its inception in 1972, the Canadian Society of Orthopaedic Technologists (CSOT) has
required a high level of skill and performance for someone to qualify as a registered orthopaedic technologist. Typically, candidates need to successfully complete a written examination,
followed by comprehensive oral and practical exams. To maintain their registration, CSOT
members must submit continuing education points annually.
Lately, in one province, licensed practical nurses can take an advanced orthopaedic course
as part of their training, emerging as certified orthopaedic technicians. By comparison to the
standards set by the CSOT, this program appears to fall short of imparting the practical skills and experience needed in the front lines of orthopaedics. The CSOT has taken the sensible step
of offering recently graduated certified orthopaedic technicians a training pathway to qualify
for CSOT membership - a strategy that the Canadian Orthopaedic Association supports fully.
Congratulations to the Canadian Society of Orthopaedic Technologists in its fortieth
anniversary year, and here's to many more years of close collaboration.
The Canadian Orthopaedic Association has reviewed your letter and we feel, as you do, that it is vitally important that
anyone who participates as an Orthopaedic Technologist to have taken a reasonable course and passed a written
examination plus evaluation from a preceptor. We would, therefore, support your stand that Orthopaedic Technologists
in our facilities, working in the capacity of an orthopaedic technician, have a two or three year window to join the CSOT
for further training. They should ultimately become a Registered Orthopaedic Technologist within your Society. Many of
our COA members would be willing to act as advisors to the Canadian Society of Orthopaedic Technologists and act
as mentors, as have Dr. Ted English and Dr. Richard Buckley in the past. We feel our two associations have worked
extremely well together over the years and will continue to forge ahead in concert as leaders and advocates
of "The Best Care" for our orthopaedic patients.
Ross K. Leighton, MD FRCSC
Past President, COA
Reply Letter sent from Pat Ennis to Dr. Leighton
Once again, thank you and your members for supporting the CSOT.
I would like to clarify the candidate examination process to become a Registered Orthopaedic Technologist.
After completing the initial criteria, a candidate must do a written examination. When the
written exam is successfully completed, they will then do a comprehensive oral and
practical exam. Once registered, all CSOT Registered Orthopaedic Technologists must
submit on a yearly basis mandatory continuing education points to maintain their registration.
We also have a student membership category where the student is mentored by an
Orthopaedic Surgeon and preceptorship is provided by a CSOT Registered
Pat Ennis, R.T. (Orthopaed)
If you would prefer to write to the Society, our address is:
18 Wynford Drive, Suite 715A
North York, Ontario
M3C 3S2 Canada
Phone (416)445-4516 Fax (416) 489-7356