The rotation schedule is meant to give the resident exposure to all areas of clinical physics, as documented in AAPM reports 79 and 197. The listed rotation schedule can be modified to accommodate activities such as new equipment commissioning, which may happen only once during the residency period. The first six months of the program is concentrated in dosimetry, which serves as the foundation for the resident’s preparation in clinical medical physics. The resident is also assigned guided readings, such as AAPM Task Group reports, that are applicable for each rotation. The residents meet with the program director and rotation supervisor every week to review the progress of the resident as well as to review the guided readings.
The core competencies for a clinical medical physicist in radiation oncology are defined by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) Report 90. They are listed below:
- Calibration of therapy equipment.
- Measurement and calculation of dose.
- Computer-assisted radiation treatment planning.
- Physical treatment planning.
- Design and fabrication of treatment aids.
- Quality assurance, including acceptance testing and commissioning of hardware and software used in planning and treating patients.
- Training of physicists, radiation oncology residents, medical dosimetrists, radiation therapists, and/or other allied health professionals in radiation oncology.
- Education of health professionals and the public in radiation oncology physics and radiation effects.
The rotation schedule is divided into a series of rotations with a single main focus that builds from simple tasks to more complex tasks. By the end of each rotation, the resident should be able to function independently with a minimal amount of supervision from the rotation supervisor.
After each rotation, the rotation supervisor / research mentor submits a written evaluation of the resident. Additionally, the resident submits an evaluation of the rotation supervisor. The resident also provides an evaluation of the program after the first year and before leaving the program after 24 months. Additionally, the resident is given oral examinations by the faculty every year. The final exam is cumulative over the entire residency program. The evaluations by the resident are used to continually update the program and are also shared with the faculty mentors so that they may address any issues that arose during the rotation.