Radiation Oncology Training Program Curriculum developments in Australia and New Zealand: Design, implementation and evaluation – What next?

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Abstract

Introduction:

The Australian and New Zealand Radiation Oncology Training Program has undergone major changes to align with pedagogical principles and best-evidence practice. The curriculum was designed around the Canadian Medical Education Directives for Specialists framework and involved structural programme changes and new in-training assessment. This paper summarises the work of programme design and implementation and presents key findings from an evaluation of the revised programme.

Methods:

An independent team conducted the evaluation during the last year of the first 5-year curriculum cycle. Opinions were sought from trainees, supervisors and directors of training (DoTs) through online surveys, focused interviews and group consultations. One hundred nineteen participated in surveys; 211 participated in consultations. All training networks were represented.

Results:

The new curriculum was viewed favourably by most participants with over 90% responding that it ‘provided direction in attaining competencies’. Most (87/107; 81%) said it ‘promotes regular, productive interaction between trainees and supervisors’. Adequacy of feedback to trainees was rated as only ‘average’ by trainees/trainers in one-third of cases. Consultations revealed this was more common where trainers were less familiar with curriculum tools. Half of DoTs/supervisors felt better supported. Nearly two-third of all responders (58/92; 63%) stated that clinical service requirements could be met during training; 17/92 (18.5%) felt otherwise. When asked about ‘work-readiness’, 59/90 (66%) respondents, including trainees, felt this was improved.

Conclusion:

Findings suggest that the ‘new’ curriculum has achieved many of its aims, and implementation has largely been successful. Outcomes focus future work on better supporting trainers in using curriculum tools and providing useful feedback to trainees.

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