Radiation oncology resident training in patient safety and quality improvement: A national survey of residency program directors

Matthew B. Spraker, Matthew J. Nyflot, Kristi R.G. Hendrickson, Stephanie Terezakis, Shannon E. Fogh, Gabrielle M. Kane, Eric C. Ford, Jing Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Physicians and physicists are expected to contribute to patient safety and quality improvement (QI) in Radiation Oncology (RO), but prior studies suggest that training for this may be inadequate. RO and medical physics (MP) program directors (PDs) were surveyed to better understand the current patient safety/QI training in their residency programs. Methods: PDs were surveyed via email in January 2017. Survey questions inquired about current training, curriculum elements, and barriers to development and/or improvement of safety and QI training. Results: Eighty-nine RO PDs and 84 MP PDs were surveyed, and 21 RO PDs (28%) and 31 MP PDs (37%) responded. Both RO and MP PDs had favorable opinions of current safety and QI training, and used a range of resources for program development, especially safety and QI publications. Various curriculum elements were reported. Curriculum elements used by RO and MP PDs were similar, except RO were more likely than MP PDs to implement morbidity and mortality (M&M) conference (72% vs. 45%, p < 0.05). RO and MP PDs similarly cited various barriers, but RO PDs were more likely to cite lack of experience than MP PDs (40% vs. 16%, p < 0.05). PDs responded similarly independent of whether they reported using a departmental incident learning system (ILS) or not. Conclusions: PDs view patient safety/QI as an important part of resident education. Most PDs agreed that residents are adequately exposed to patient safety/QI and prepared to meet the patient safety/QI expectations of clinical practice. This conflicts with other independent studies that indicate a majority of residents feel their patient safety/QI training is inadequate and lacks formal exposure to QI tools.

Original languageEnglish
Article number186
JournalRadiation Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 24 2018


  • Education
  • Quality improvement
  • Residency
  • Safety


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