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Title: What Are Medical Students in the United States Learning About Radiation Oncology? Results of a Multi-Institutional Survey

Abstract

Purpose: The purposes of this study were to assess the exposure that medical students (MSs) have to radiation oncology (RO) during the course of their medical school career, as evidenced by 2 time points in current medical training (ie, first vs fourth year; MS1s and MS4s, respectively) and to assess the knowledge of MS1s, MS4s, and primary care physicians (PCPs) about the appropriateness of RT in cancer management in comparison with RO attendings. Methods: We developed and beta tested an electronic survey divided into 3 parts: RO job descriptions, appropriateness of RT, and toxicities of RT. The surveys were distributed to 7 medical schools in the United States. A concordance of >90% (either yes or no) among RO attendings in an answer was necessary to determine the correct answer and to compare with other subgroups using a χ{sup 2} test (P<.05 was significant). Results: The overall response rate for ROs, MS1s, MS4s, and PCPs was 26%; n (22 + 315 + 404 + 43)/3004. RT misconceptions decreased with increasing level of training. More than 1 of 10 MSs did not believe that RT alone could cure cancer. Emergent oncologic conditions for RT (eg, spinal cord compression, superior vena cava syndrome) could not be identified by >1 ofmore » 5 respondents. Multiple nontoxicities of RT (eg, emitting low-level radiation from the treatment site) were incorrectly identified as toxicities by >1 of 5 respondents. MS4s/PCPs with an RO rotation in medical school had improved scores in all prompts. Conclusions: Although MS knowledge of general RT principles improves from the first to the fourth year, a large knowledge gap still exists between MSs, current PCPs, and ROs. Some basic misconceptions of RT persist among a minority of MSs and PCPs. We recommend implementing formal education in RO fundamentals during the core curriculum of medical school.« less

Authors:
;  [1];  [2];  [3];  [4]; ;  [5];  [1];  [6]; ;  [1]
  1. Department of Radiation Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (United States)
  2. Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (United States)
  3. Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (United States)
  4. Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, Stratford, New Jersey (United States)
  5. Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia (United States)
  6. University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, Madison, Wisconsin (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22645071
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 94; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2016 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Journal ID: ISSN 0360-3016
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
62 RADIOLOGY AND NUCLEAR MEDICINE; EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES; NEOPLASMS; PUBLIC OPINION; RADIOTHERAPY

Citation Formats

Zaorsky, Nicholas G., E-mail: nicholaszaorsky@gmail.com, Shaikh, Talha, Handorf, Elizabeth, Eastwick, Gary, Hesney, Adam, Scher, Eli D., Jones, Ryan T., Showalter, Timothy N., Avkshtol, Vladimir, University of Toledo College of Medicine, Toledo, Ohio, Rice, Stephanie R., Horwitz, Eric M., and Meyer, Joshua E. What Are Medical Students in the United States Learning About Radiation Oncology? Results of a Multi-Institutional Survey. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1016/J.IJROBP.2015.10.008.
Zaorsky, Nicholas G., E-mail: nicholaszaorsky@gmail.com, Shaikh, Talha, Handorf, Elizabeth, Eastwick, Gary, Hesney, Adam, Scher, Eli D., Jones, Ryan T., Showalter, Timothy N., Avkshtol, Vladimir, University of Toledo College of Medicine, Toledo, Ohio, Rice, Stephanie R., Horwitz, Eric M., & Meyer, Joshua E. What Are Medical Students in the United States Learning About Radiation Oncology? Results of a Multi-Institutional Survey. United States. doi:10.1016/J.IJROBP.2015.10.008.
Zaorsky, Nicholas G., E-mail: nicholaszaorsky@gmail.com, Shaikh, Talha, Handorf, Elizabeth, Eastwick, Gary, Hesney, Adam, Scher, Eli D., Jones, Ryan T., Showalter, Timothy N., Avkshtol, Vladimir, University of Toledo College of Medicine, Toledo, Ohio, Rice, Stephanie R., Horwitz, Eric M., and Meyer, Joshua E. Mon . "What Are Medical Students in the United States Learning About Radiation Oncology? Results of a Multi-Institutional Survey". United States. doi:10.1016/J.IJROBP.2015.10.008.
@article{osti_22645071,
title = {What Are Medical Students in the United States Learning About Radiation Oncology? Results of a Multi-Institutional Survey},
author = {Zaorsky, Nicholas G., E-mail: nicholaszaorsky@gmail.com and Shaikh, Talha and Handorf, Elizabeth and Eastwick, Gary and Hesney, Adam and Scher, Eli D. and Jones, Ryan T. and Showalter, Timothy N. and Avkshtol, Vladimir and University of Toledo College of Medicine, Toledo, Ohio and Rice, Stephanie R. and Horwitz, Eric M. and Meyer, Joshua E.},
abstractNote = {Purpose: The purposes of this study were to assess the exposure that medical students (MSs) have to radiation oncology (RO) during the course of their medical school career, as evidenced by 2 time points in current medical training (ie, first vs fourth year; MS1s and MS4s, respectively) and to assess the knowledge of MS1s, MS4s, and primary care physicians (PCPs) about the appropriateness of RT in cancer management in comparison with RO attendings. Methods: We developed and beta tested an electronic survey divided into 3 parts: RO job descriptions, appropriateness of RT, and toxicities of RT. The surveys were distributed to 7 medical schools in the United States. A concordance of >90% (either yes or no) among RO attendings in an answer was necessary to determine the correct answer and to compare with other subgroups using a χ{sup 2} test (P<.05 was significant). Results: The overall response rate for ROs, MS1s, MS4s, and PCPs was 26%; n (22 + 315 + 404 + 43)/3004. RT misconceptions decreased with increasing level of training. More than 1 of 10 MSs did not believe that RT alone could cure cancer. Emergent oncologic conditions for RT (eg, spinal cord compression, superior vena cava syndrome) could not be identified by >1 of 5 respondents. Multiple nontoxicities of RT (eg, emitting low-level radiation from the treatment site) were incorrectly identified as toxicities by >1 of 5 respondents. MS4s/PCPs with an RO rotation in medical school had improved scores in all prompts. Conclusions: Although MS knowledge of general RT principles improves from the first to the fourth year, a large knowledge gap still exists between MSs, current PCPs, and ROs. Some basic misconceptions of RT persist among a minority of MSs and PCPs. We recommend implementing formal education in RO fundamentals during the core curriculum of medical school.},
doi = {10.1016/J.IJROBP.2015.10.008},
journal = {International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics},
issn = {0360-3016},
number = 2,
volume = 94,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {2}
}