Orthopedic Technologist Certification Examination
Benefits of certification as an orthopedic technologist include the opportunity for a higher salary, prestige, and a competitive advantage over non-certified orthopedic technologists. This certification also establishes a professional standard for orthopedic technologists, and helps patients make informed decisions about who will administer their medical care.
A prospective orthopedic technologist can take one of the following routes to gain eligibility to take the orthopedic technologist certification examination:
- Two years of full-time on-the-job training in the orthopedic technology field, and under the direct supervision of an orthopedic physician,
- Completion of a recognized orthopedic technology training program, either through a school or through the United States Armed Forces,
- Certification or licensing as an athletic trainer, with a minimum of six months (1,040 hours) of full-time employment specific to orthopedic technology, and under the direct supervision of a physician specializing in the treatment of the musculoskeletal system.
The orthopedic technologist certification examination is made up of 150 scored multiple-choice questions, each with four possible answers. In addition, 15 questions are not scored and are part of the examination solely for the purpose of the examination board’s review. However, it is impossible to tell which questions will be scored and which questions will not be scored; therefore, it is very important that the candidate answer all examination questions to the best of his knowledge and ability. Three hours is allocated for the completion of the orthopedic technologist certification examination.
A breakdown of the topics covered on the examination, and the weight of each topic, is provided below:
Assessment: 40 percent (60 questions)
- Use effective interviewing techniques to interview the patient and his family in order to obtain
- a complete history of the patient’s complaints and condition.
- Conduct a physical examination of the patient by using standard examination techniques, and provide the pertinent information to the surgeon.
Casting, splinting, and orthopedic appliances: 40 percent (60 questions)
- Apply an upper extremity cast or splint to a patient; use accepted casting and splinting practices and techniques, and comply with a physician’s orders.
- Apply a lower extremity cast or splint to a patient; use accepted casting and splinting practices and techniques, and comply with a physician’s orders.
- Apply a torso extremity cast or splint to the patient; use accepted casting and splinting practices and techniques, and comply with a physician’s orders.
- Apply a specialty extremity cast or splint to the patient; use accepted casting and splinting practices and techniques, and comply with a physician’s orders.
- Utilize a cast or a splint to a patient’s specifications; use accepted practices and techniques, and comply with a physician’s orders.
- Apply orthopedic devices to a patient; ensure a proper fit and placement, and comply with a physician’s orders.
- Apply pre-fabricated orthotics and orthopedic appliances to a patient; ensure the appliances fit properly and comply with a physician’s orders.
Traction: 10 percent (15 questions)
1) Obtain the equipment and select the appropriate items for a traction apparatus; then apply traction therapy to a patient.
2) Apply the traction apparatus; use accepted practices and techniques to prepare for the application of skin or skeletal traction.
3) Drape, scrub, and assist in the application of skeletal traction therapy; use accepted practices and techniques and comply with a physician’s orders.
4) Apply skin traction therapy to a patient; use accepted practices and techniques, and comply with a physician’s orders.
5) Assist in discontinuing traction therapy; use accepted practices and techniques, and comply with a physician’s orders.
Surgery: 10 percent (15 questions)
• Position, prepare, and drape a patient for surgery using accepted practices and techniques.
• Apply and manage post-operative dressings on wounds following aseptic techniques.
• Assist the surgeon during reductions by supplying and applying the appropriate materials.
• Assist the surgeon using accepted surgical practices and techniques.
Orthopaedic Nursing Exam Video Review
Orthopaedic Nursing Practice Questions
1. A patient is very talkative and, speaking rapidly, gives very long convoluted answers to all questions, making it difficult to obtain an accurate history. The best response for the orthopaedic technologist is to
A. Allow the person to talk freely for five minutes and then interrupt to briefly summarize and clarify the most important points.
B. Tell the person that his/her answers are confusing and they need to be shorter.
C. Allow the person to talk as freely as he/she likes and try to take notes.
D. Ask the patient if a family member can help to provide a history.
2. Which of the following imaging techniques is the most effective for diagnosing osteomyelitis resulting from an infected traumatic injury?
A. Standard radiograph.
B. Computed tomography (CT) scan.
C. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
3. When assessing a patient’s gait, the orthopaedic technologist notes that the patient appears unsteady and uncoordinated with a wide base measurement, and he lifts his feet higher than normal while stepping with the feet flat onto the floor. This gait is characterized as
4. An infant with a clubfoot is receiving progressive plaster casts, and he needs to have the current cast removed. The best method to remove the cast is to
A. Use a cast cutter while he is sleeping.
B. Soak the cast in warm water with 1 tbsp. of vinegar for 1 hour.
C. Soak the cast in warm water with 1 tbsp. vinegar for 10 minutes.
D. Use a cast cutter while the parents hold the child.
5. The orthopaedic technologist is changing the dressing of a patient who has had a hip replacement and is experiencing a minimal amount of serosanguineous drainage. Which precautions should the technologist use?
C. Standard and contact.
Answers & Explanations
1. A: Talkative patients can be difficult to interview, so some direction may be necessary; however, often the best approach is to allow the person to talk freely for about five minutes and then gently interrupt to summarize and clarify the main points they’ve made during the discourse. While the person talks, the orthopaedic technologist should note the patterns of speech and nonverbal behavior as well as the content to determine if the patient appears tense, confused, or psychotic. The technologist should not exhibit impatience or tell the person that his/her answers are confusing.
2. C: Although all of the listed imaging techniques serve a role, the most effective for diagnosis of osteomyelitis is the MRI because it can show the spread of the infection through the bone and the soft tissue. Diagnosis usually begins with standard radiographs to show the overall anatomy and conditions of the bone. Ultrasound is useful for collections of fluid and soft-tissue involvement. CT scans can show the presence of bony abnormalities, but they are not sensitive to osteomyelitis.
3. B: Ataxia: Unsteady and uncoordinated with a wide base measurement and feet lifted higher than normal while stepping with the feet flat onto the floor. Steppage: Dragging or lifting the feet high when walking, then slapping the feet down, giving the appearance of stair walking. Parkinsonian: Walking with the trunk leaning forward with a short, shuffling gait and slight flexion of both hips and knees but without arm swing. Scissors: Thighs crossing while taking short, stiff steps, giving the appearance of someone walking in water.
4. B: The best method to remove a cast from an infant or small child is to soak the cast in warm water until the plaster begins to soften and dissolve. The child can be placed in a small tub of warm water with about 1 tbsp. of vinegar added for an hour or so, and then the wrapping can be unrolled and removed. Parents should be advised to do this before the appointment time because using a cast cutter on an infant’s cast can cause distress.
5. A: The orthopaedic technologist should use standard precautions, which are indicated for all patients and all contact with bodily fluids, such as urine, feces, and serous and sanguineous drainage. This should include hand hygiene, gloves, and gown while changing the dressing. Contact precautions are indicated for draining or infected wounds and require the use of gowns and gloves for all contact with the patient or the immediate patient environment to prevent the spread of an infection from one patient to another.