The Unofficial Bone Shop House Surgeons Survival Guide

During my time in Christchurch I worked in the bone shop,

There was a book/PDF that was distributed which helped many of us early on and serves as a great refresher.  In the interests of #FOAMed I thought I should share a couple of links.

Before doing this I checked with Chris Cresswell ( @emtutor ) who wrote the original! which has since been edited. Its full of practical advice and worth a read. The word doc is good to have on your smart device of choice. As with all of these sorta things, doesn’t replace your local advice/protocols, If it seems odd check something else!

I decided I should put the first page up so you can get the flavour and practical nature of it.

viva la #FOAMed

  • The Unofficial Bone Shop House Surgeons Survival Guide
  • Welcome to The Bone Shop
  • Don’t try and read the whole of this guide.  Read the introductory paragraphs, then before you see each patient look at the X-rays, read any previous notes, referral, consultant film reading, look the injury up in this guide, talk to the nurse, look up McCrae and decide what you’re going to do before the patient comes in.
  • Everyone expects you to know nothing.  The nurses know everything and will give you lots of help.
  •  For the first few weeks you will feel you are superfluous and are slowing things down.


  • It’s not your fault the waiting room is full: the head of department acknowledges there is a staff shortage and inadequate orientation.
  • What is acceptable angulation/displacement? A lot of the time we don’t know.  If you can get anyone to define “acceptable” for various injuries please add it to this guideline


  • Consider non accidental injuries.  Have a low threshold for discussing with paeds reg.
  • Consider bone strengthening medication for post menopausal women and men over 65 with #s.  We can prescribe calcium (eg calcium carbonate 1.5g bd) and vitamin D (eg calciferol 1.25mg daily for 7 days then once a month).  They need to see their GP to obtain bisphosphonates (eg alendronate).
  • Analgesia/sedation:Bier’s blocks may be performed by an anaesthetic SHO (or above) and are available in “working hours” (d/w duty anaesthetist), or you can do them yourselves provided there are 2 of you – one to do block and manage the cuff – and the other to do the manipulation.  You need to have attended a teaching session on Bier’s block by Anaesthetists prior to being able to perform the blocks yourselves.We do not currently use ketamine/propofol/etomidate in Bone Shop.


  • One alternative is using haematoma blocks (including selected ankles that need manipulating), regional nerve blocks, IV fentanyl eg 100µg, IV midazolam eg 1mg (or 0.5mg in the elderly) and Entonox.
  • For kids consider using 2µg/kg intranasal fentanyl as analgesia.
  • Consider using the 70% nitrous mixer from ED if you’ve been trained to use it. Remember to turn it off.



Text copy on EM tutorials:

Dropbox for word download.






  1. Hey dude.
    How old is this drop box version? Do you know if they still using this in Chch?

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