Susan Turcotte Recognized for Dedication to Teaching and Mentoring in Orthopaedic Field
When SEA member Susan Turcotte returned home to New Hampshire this week, she had some new hardware in tow. Turcotte, who is the Orthopaedic Technology Program Coordinator at NHTI, was inducted into the National Association of Orthopaedic Technologists Honors Society.
Turcotte was honored this week at the association’s Annual Clinical Symposium for her 22 years of teaching and mentoring in the orthopaedic technologist field.
“It’s a huge honor and accomplishment, and I’m very proud,” she said. “Someone has to nominate you, then it goes to the executive board and finally the executive committee.”
At NHTI, she helped build a program that sends students to some of the biggest hospitals in Boston after completing the one-year program. Orthopaedic technologists work with orthopaedic surgeons and are experts in applying and removing casts, but that’s just one part of their job. The NHTI program gives students the training they need to succeed in the field.
“For a year investment, it’s a good turnover,” she said. “You’re out working side-by-side with surgeons.”
It wasn’t always that way. When Turcotte was entering the field, there were no programs like NHTI’s, so she had to learn on the job.
“I followed a surgeon for 2,000 hours,” she said. “It took me two years.”
She said the program has been very well-received everywhere she goes, as the need for trained workers is great. Before she came to NHTI seven years ago, she worked in private practice and saw this need first-hand.
“Everybody has been looking for this,” Turcotte said. “For years, we were always looking for people, and wondering how we can train them.
In addition to being inducted into the honor society, Turcotte was appointed to oversee standards at the seven accredited orthopaedic technology programs. She’s already making an impact in her role as chairman.
“Since the meeting, we got together and standardized a curriculum,” she said. “So now everybody has to teach that curriculum.”
The recognition is an honor for Turcotte but also reflects how successful her program at NHTI has become. Every year, she has more applicants than she can accept and she said she can’t graduate students fast enough for the big Boston hospitals.