Frequently Asked Questions


Can training be flexible or part time?

Yes, the NZOA supports trainees who wish to train part-time.  Each request for part-time training is considered on a case-by-case basis by the NZOA Education Committee who will consider the reason for the request and the part-time load that you wish to work.

What if I need to take a break during my training?

Trainees can request an interruption to training for family, research, illness, and other reasons.  Interruptions can be taken for six months and all requests are considered on a case-by-case basis by the NZOA Education Committee.

Is there support for me as a Māori trainee?

Ngā Rata Kōiwi is the organisation formed of Māori Orthopaedic surgeons who are active within the NZOA and in the Māori community to encourage and support students and young doctors into a career in Orthopaedics. They also support the trainees coming through to make Orthopaedics a safe, enjoyable and rewarding place for Māori to be.

Is orthopaedic surgery an appropriate career choice for women?

Read about four of our female orthopaedic surgeons and trainees in this blog written by Joyce Guo.  Share the experiences of Dr Karen Smith, Dr Margy Pohl, Dr Nikki Hooper & Dr Jessica Mowbray.

What support is available for women in Orthopaedics?

LIONZ (Ladies in Orthopaedics New Zealand) are committed to supporting female surgeons, including trainees, they hold networking opportunities and support for female registrars along with practical workshops and events.  There is a female representative on the NZOA Speciality Orthopaedic Training Board, this role is also co-opted onto the NZOA Education Committee.

LIONZ was set up in 2017 with the aim of connecting women in orthopaedics all over New Zealand.  It's a place where we can support each other, work through things and make our community a better place.  LIONZ organises workshops and conferences aimed at females at all levels (med students to SMOs) for ongoing education and networking.  We are committed to making LIONZ a place you call home within NZOA.  

Contact: George: or Nikki: to find out how they can support you

Where will I be placed during my training?

When you apply to the program, you will be asked to nominate your preferences for the first year of your training.  You may be offered a training post in one of these preferences but it is not a guarantee.  During your training, you will rotate around hospitals in New Zealand. 

How competitive is orthopaedic surgery training?

Orthopaedic surgery is one of the more competitive surgical specialties.

How many attempts can I make at selection into orthopaedic training?

From 2022 applicants are permitted a total of three attempts at selection into the NZOA Training Programme.  An attempt is deemed to be an application through to the interview stage but was unsuccessful.  After a third unsuccessful attempt, applicants will no longer be eligible to apply for selection into orthopaedic training in New Zealand.  Previous attempts prior to the 2022 application year are not part of the 3 attempts i.e. an application made in 2022 will be considered the first attempt.

What are the selection requirements for orthopaedic training?

For the current Selection Regulations and more information about the selection process for the orthopaedic SET programme visit Apply to the NZOA Training Programme section of this website.  Only courses specified in the SET Regulations are eligible for points on the CV no other courses will be considered.

Do I need to have passed the Clinical Exam to apply?

From the 2023 year of application, for the 2024 training year, all candidates will need to have successfully completed the Clinical Exam (CE) at the time of application.

What events do I attend as a trainee?

Among other events offered, all trainees attend compulsory training weekends which are hosted in hospitals on a rotation basis during the 5 years of training.  A SET 0/1 (OHE course) is held at the end of each year and includes those selected in that year, a SET 1 specific Training Weekend is held at the beginning of the year and there are two SET 2-5 training weekends per year, one beginning and one end of year.  SET 4 Trainees also attend a mock exam in November and SET 5 a pre-exam course in May each year.