Assessment of Radiation Oncology Medical Physics Residents: The London, Ontario (Canada) Experience
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Medical physicists play an important role in radiation medicine. Their positions entail significant responsibility and can involve life-or-death actions due to significant radiation exposures. To be safe and effective in the use of radiation, rigorous education and training programs are essential. This chapter summarizes the career structure of radiation oncology medical physicists in the Province of Ontario, Canada. The residency training program is outlined, and methods of assessment of the training program are detailed. These include (1) performance in courses, (2) observation of on-the-job proficiency, (3) performance during practical rotations, (4) “formal” six-monthly review, (5) performance in the clinically relevant research project, (6) performance in the formal Ontario provincial “Review-A” examination at the end of the residency program, and (7) subsequent successful completion of the Canadian national certification examination by the Canadian College of Physicists in Medicine (CCPM). The residency program itself is reviewed through the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Educational Programs (CAMPEP). Finally, a survey was performed of all 16 residents who graduated during the last decade to determine how well prepared they felt for working in a clinical environment and asking for comments about how the program might be improved. The survey yielded 100% response and provided useful feedback on the effectiveness of their training. In summary, the radiation oncology medical physics residency program in London, Ontario (Canada), has proven to be a rich source of well-trained medical physics staff to radiation oncology programs throughout Canada.