Radiation oncology medical student clerkship: Implementation and evaluation of a Bi-institutional pilot curriculum

Daniel W. Golden, Alexander Spektor, Sonali Rudra, Mark C. Ranck, Monica S. Krishnan, Rachel B. Jimenez, Akila N. Viswanathan, Matthew Koshy, Andrew R. Howard, Steven J. Chmura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose To develop and evaluate a structured didactic curriculum to complement clinical experiences during radiation oncology clerkships at 2 academic medical centers. Methods and Materials A structured didactic curriculum was developed to teach fundamentals of radiation oncology and improve confidence in clinical competence. Curriculum lectures included: (1) an overview of radiation oncology (history, types of treatments, and basic clinic flow); (2) fundamentals of radiation biology and physics; and (3) practical aspects of radiation treatment simulation and planning. In addition, a hands-on dosimetry session taught students fundamentals of treatment planning. The curriculum was implemented at 2 academic departments in 2012. Students completed anonymous evaluations using a Likert scale to rate the usefulness of curriculum components (1 = not at all, 5 = extremely). Likert scores are reported as (median [interquartile range]). Results Eighteen students completed the curriculum during their 4-week rotation (University of Chicago n=13, Harvard Longwood Campus n=5). All curriculum components were rated as extremely useful: introduction to radiation oncology (5 [4-5]); radiation biology and physics (5 [5-5]); practical aspects of radiation oncology (5 [4-5]); and the treatment planning session (5 [5-5]). Students rated the curriculum as "quite useful" to "extremely useful" (1) to help students understand radiation oncology as a specialty; (2) to increase student comfort with their specialty decision; and (3) to help students with their future transition to a radiation oncology residency. Conclusions A standardized curriculum for medical students completing a 4-week radiation oncology clerkship was successfully implemented at 2 institutions. The curriculum was favorably reviewed. As a result of completing the curriculum, medical students felt more comfortable with their specialty decision and better prepared to begin radiation oncology residency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-50
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Volume88
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

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