Grades in required or core clerkships are very important to radiation oncology residency programs.
In a NRMP survey of radiation oncology residency programs, 77% cited "grades in required clerkships" as a factor in selecting applicants to interview.
5 Tips for Success During the Radiation Oncology Rotation
1. New students to the radiation oncology rotation often fear being asked difficult questions about dosimetry or radiobiology. However, radiation oncology attending physicians are usually most interested in your knowledge of clinical oncology. Read about the science and physics of the field but understand that most of the questions that come your way will deal with the diagnosis, staging, and treatment of specific cancers.
2. To become more knowledgeable about treatment recommendations, a particularly useful resource is the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology. These are updated guidelines for the treatment of cancer by site. The information is evidence-based, and you can readily use the information to evaluate patients and develop treatment plans.
3. Spend some time at the end of the day reviewing the caseload for the next day. Review the patients' charts, and be familiar with their clinical presentation and prior treatments. This will ready you to perform great H & Ps the next day. By determining the type of cancers you will encounter, you will also be able to focus your reading that evening.
4. We highly encourage you to read an excellent article published in the Journal of Cancer Education titled "Radiation Oncology: A Primer for Medical Students." The article will leave you more informed about the fundamentals and use of radiation oncology. Important considerations during consultations, including recommendations for formulating the assessment and plan, are presented. Different imaging modalities, contouring, evaluation, and delivery of radiation are also discussed, including ways in which students can participate in these areas.
5. Most radiation oncology rotations ask their students to deliver a presentation at the end of the rotation. Don't take these presentations lightly!
Our book, Success on the Wards, is a powerful resource to help you excel in core clerkships. It has also been widely used by international medical graduates seeking to perform at a high level during U.S. clinical rotations. Securing a radiation oncology rotation can be challenging for international medical graduates. We have created a database of clinical opportunities in radiation oncology to help direct your search (see below).