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Curriculum

2 oncology residents consulting

Resident training is focused on presenting a wide range of learning opportunities with a focus on clinical training. Clinical conferences, journal clubs, and one-on-one instruction are integral parts of the program.

Clinical training

Before beginning the Radiation Oncology Residency, completion of a preliminary or transitional year at Mayo Clinic or in another academic medical setting is required.

During the four years of radiation oncology training, residents are responsible for all aspects of patient care, including initial evaluations, management decisions, treatment planning and delivery, and follow-up. You will work one-on-one with staff learning the details of all disease sites, with exposure to common malignancies, rare tumors, and select benign processes. 

With each year of training, you are expected to have increasing responsibility and demonstrate increasing ability to work independently with a goal of competency in medical knowledge, patient care, system based practice, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and practice-based learning and improvement.

Rotation schedule

The following is a typical radiation oncology residency schedule:

Rotation

Length

Clinical Radiation Oncology

30 months

Senior Resident Associate

6 months

Research

6-11 months

Dosimetry

1 month

Senior Resident Associate

A unique opportunity for senior residents is a six-month rotation during PGY-5 year where residents function semi-independently as a Senior Resident Associate, or SRA.

During this block, the SRA is the primary caregiver for patients, sees patients on their own, develops a treatment plan under the supervision of a faculty member, and is responsible for delivering the care. Through the treatment process, the SRA is the leader in the patient's care; they integrate therapists, dosimetrists, and support staff, as well as dieticians and other medical specialties.

Didactic training

The didactic portion of Mayo Clinic's Radiation Oncology Residency includes:

  • Tuesday and Thursday Morning Case Conference
  • Core Curriculum conferences
  • Resident Annual Talk on an aspect of cancer management or research
  • Morbidity & Mortality conferences
  • Subspecialty Conference (Journal Club)
  • Cancer Center Grand Rounds
  • Systems-based practice and quality improvement conferences
  • Radiobiology course, both staff-led and biennial visiting professor
  • Radiation Physics course

A comprehensive core curriculum course covering all aspects of oncology care is taught weekly by staff from different specialties within Mayo Clinic including radiation and medical oncology, surgical specialties, neurology, statistics, pathology, and radiology.

Additionally, you will participate in many combined conferences and tumor boards. Residents are required to attend relevant tumor boards while on service and frequently present cases at tumor boards.

Simulation center training

You will have the opportunity to learn communication skills by observing clinical staff and through simulation center sessions with standardized patients. Residents are introduced to nasopharyngoscopy and brachytherapy skills in anatomy lab to allow for handling of the equipment prior to use with patients.

Research

The residency program includes a minimum of six months and maximum of 11 months of dedicated research elective. Residents can elect to conduct basic science/laboratory research, a biology or physics project, or clinical protocol. 

Resident-developed clinical protocols are used within Mayo Clinic or a cooperative study group. Residents are strongly encouraged to participate in clinical research outside of this six-month time commitment.

All residents are expected to produce publishable work during their residency. A wide variety of support systems for research exist including research coordinators, internal funding opportunities, biostatisticians, editorial services, and media support services.

Mayo Clinic provides trip days and expense reimbursement for presentations and abstracts accepted at regional, national, and international meetings.

Evaluation

Clinical competency is evaluated through staff-written rotation evaluations, oral exams, and 360-degree reviews. Residents are evaluated on a quarterly basis.

Residents take the ACR Radiation Oncology In-Training Examination, RAPHEX, and RABEX annually. Research competency is evaluated through production of publishable work and productivity during the research rotation.