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Physics Residency Program: Physics Residents


Physics ResidentsWe recieve anywhere from 60-160 applicants per year. All trainees entering the Radiation Oncology Physics Residency program are required to have acquired a strong foundation in basic physics as documented by a master's or doctoral degree in medical physics, physics, engineering, mathematics, or other science with physics training equivalent to a minor in physics.

Interested candidates are provided with a list of material that provides essential information on radiation oncology physics training (see table below).  These AAPM documents are free and downloadable:  aapm.org/pubs/reports..






“A Guide to the AAPM”

“The Medical Physicist

“The Roles, Responsibilities, and Status of the Clinical Physicist

Report No. 90, "Essentials and Guidelines for Hospital-Based Medical Physics Training Programs"

Report No. 38, “The Role of a Physicist in Radiation Oncology

Upon receipt of the candidate's completed application, transcripts, and letters of recommendation (electronically), the information packet is forwarded to members of the Physics Residency Committee who then rank the candidates. The scores are summed and the top candidates are contacted by phone to initiate the interview process.  Candidates contacted by phone are invited to interview.  They are then interviewed by members of the Physics Residency Committee along with other physics faculty. In addition, references may be contacted by phone to supplement the recommendation letters. A short presentaion is also given by the candidate. Interviews will take place in February. At present, we are participating in the match program.

The interview process is performed in accordance with the equal opportunity standards of Washington University.

Recruitment Efforts

In the past, an announcement for the Physics Resident positions has been made in January of the year training is to commence. This is accomplished via the AAPM Job Placement Announcement. The advertisement describes the training program and provides instructions concerning application to the program.  In addition, a letter and application is sent to the Program Director at each AAPM listed graduate and post-doc granting institutions informing them of openings in our training programs and urging them to encourage their graduates to apply to our program.

Number of Residents

The Physics Residency Program is designed to handle a maximum of 6 residents. For 2016, we will be admitting two new residents.

New Resident Orientation

New physics residents are provided a one day orientation lecture series followed by a 3-day rotation in the CT simulators and accelerators at the beginning of their training.  This is followed by an intense 10 daycourse on fundamentals of treatment planning.  In addition, the Program Director and Physics Faculty meet with each new resident at that time to ensure the incoming resident clearly understands the program's requirements, resident administrative procedures, and any other expectations. At this meeting, the resident is made aware of staff and program resources, including treatment machines, treatment planning facilities, laboratories and libraries.  Each faculty member gives advice and expectations of the resident.

Evaluation of Resident Progress

Residents are monitored through the program by the assigned faculty for each clinical rotation. Meetings every six weeks between the physics resident, Program Director, and assigned faculty for the current rotation were instituted to discuss problems related to resident training. This meeting also gives an opportunity for the resident to provide feedback about the program. A formal evaluation is performed by the resident upon completion. At this meeting, the resident's progress in their current rotation is reviewed, discussed, and if needed altered. Near the end of each year of their training, the resident is given an oral examination. If the resident does not pass the exam, the resident is placed on probation.  During that period, the resident is assigned to the area(s) of demonstrated weakness.  At the end of the probation period, an oral exam is again conducted.  If the resident does not pass this second oral exam, the resident is terminated from the Residency Program.  This occurs under the procedures and guidelines of Washington University. 

By the end of the first year, the Physics Resident is expected to function as a Junior-Physicist, with the ability to perform quality assurance tests, patient QA, monitor unit and dose calculations, conventional and IMRT treatment planning, radiation safety procedures, and brachytherapy physics procedures and planning.  By the completion of the two year term, the physics resident is expected to be able to perform all radiation oncology physics functions, including full calibrations of treatment machines, checks of dosimetry work (treatment plans, etc.), weekly paper and electronic chart reviews including delivery and imaging for patients, radiation safety procedures, clinical consultations, and patient-related dosimetry.  Every effort is made to include as many residents as possible into commissioning and acceptance testing of simulation, delivery, and localization systems.