The purpose of the training program in radiation oncology is to provide quality education in oncology and the use of radiation in the treatment of disease.
One of the primary missions of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Florida is to train excellent future practitioners of radiation oncology. Since a radiation oncologist is first of all an oncologist, it is necessary to provide training in all aspects of oncology. Through the radiation biology course, the basic biology of malignant disease is taught. Through lectures, conferences, and daily discussions with the faculty, the natural history of cancer and overall management of the patient with cancer are taught. It is expected that residents finishing the program will understand the biology, pathology, natural history, workup, and treatment approaches with radiation therapy, surgery, and chemotherapy.
In addition, it is expected that residents will become competent in the delivery of radiation therapy for patients with benign or malignant disease, as appropriate. The program therefore includes detailed training through lectures and practical experience of radiation physics, including radiation safety. Techniques of external beam radiotherapy, as well as interstitial and intracavitary radiotherapy, are taught.
Since judgment is one of the most difficult skills for residents to learn, considerable one-on-one time is spent developing this skill, so that at the completion of the residency, trainees are able to consider all aspects of the treatment decision. To do this, it is imperative that residents become proficient in all aspects of physical examination that apply to the treatment of the cancer patient. In particular, the head and neck, lymphatic, gynecologic, genitourinary, and neurologic examinations are stressed. Since proper judgment requires a broad base of knowledge, residents are required to read the appropriate literature and be prepared to discuss it with faculty and other residents, as well as physicians of other specialties. It is the aim of the department to instill in all residents a goal to continue seeking knowledge throughout their professional lives, and to provide the medical community with a physician dedicated to excellent patient care and the advancement of knowledge.
The University of Florida Residency in Radiation Oncology is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Residents beginning their graduate medical education after December 1998 will be required to have five years of approved training with a minimum of four years in Radiation Oncology in order to be Board-eligible. Residents will be admissible to the written examination only after they have completed four years of approved training.
All residents commencing the radiation oncology program must have completed a clinical PGY-1 year in an accredited graduate medical education institution. Surgical, medical, or flexible internship is suggested. Training beyond the PGY-1 year is helpful but not required.
Selection of Residents
It is the goal of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Florida to produce quality radiation oncologists who pursue either an academic or private practice career. To do this, we feel that it is necessary to choose high quality residents from the pool of applicants each year. Future residents are selected based on academic achievement, personal qualities, and the faculty’s assessment of their potential to excel in the residency program. In general, most successful applicants are in the top third of their medical school class and graduate from Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) schools that provide superior undergraduate medical education.
- Our department is now using the ERAS program
- The deadline for applications is November 2nd with interviews in January
- The final selection of residents is performed by the N.R.M.P. match, and the department is informed in March of the same application year
- The resident or residents chosen by the match are required to sign a contract for the PGY II year of their residency, which is renewable yearly thereafter
Supervision of Residents
Given the current guidelines for clinical activities of the College of Medicine, all clinical patient care activities, including those involving resident physicians, are conducted under the direct supervision and with the full participation of the attending faculty physician.
The department participates in a large number of multidisciplinary conferences each week and it is not possible for any resident or faculty member to attend all of them. Each faculty member attends those conferences related to his/her area of expertise and coverage. Residents are required to attend the multidisciplinary conferences attended by the faculty member supervising their rotation.
Residents in good standing may take up to nine months of electives during their four-year residency, with most taken in the PGY-4 and PGY-5 years. Electives are flexible, but must have the approval of the program director. Electives may be used to intensify knowledge of other specialties involved in cancer care, such as a rotation on the head and neck tumor service, or the resident may spend time at another university’s radiation oncology department.
Every year the department sponsors a clinical research seminar. This is usually held in March. Every resident and faculty member presents an original research project. Resident projects are selected and assigned by the faculty. An attending clinical faculty member is assigned to supervise and assist the resident physician in his/her research efforts, with the objective of completing a paper for presentation and publication.