The Current State of Physics Plan Review Training in Medical Physics Residency Programs in North America

Leah K. Schubert, Kristi Hendrickson, Moyed Miften, Monica McNulty, Yevgeniy Y. Vinogradskiy, David H. Thomas, David Westerly, Kelly Stuhr, Janet Corral, Danielle Royer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study aimed to identify the current state of residency training in physics plan reviews. Methods and Materials: A voluntary, anonymous survey was sent to all program directors of accredited therapeutic medical physics residency programs in North America. Survey questions were developed to determine whether and how residents are trained in physics plan reviews. Survey questions were developed using expert validation and cognitive pretesting. Results: Using a prospectively approved study (COMIRB 18-1073), responses were collected from 70 program directors, representing a 70% response rate. All respondents (100%) designated patient safety to be the purpose of physics plan reviews. Of the respondents, 94% indicated that physicists should first receive training in physics plan reviews while in a residency program. The vast majority of respondents (99%) provide training to residents in physics plan reviews. Although 57 programs (81% of respondents) have residents perform physics plan reviews as part of clinical practice (with varying levels of independence), 13 programs (19% of respondents) do not. The majority of respondents use the following training methods: observe staff physicists (96%), perform supervised reviews on actual patients for training or clinical practice (93%), use a checklist (80%), and read reference materials (62%). Although simulation plans with embedded errors would be implemented by 71% of respondents, they are currently used in only 19% of programs. Conclusions: The present study is the first to characterize chart-check teaching practices in medical physics residency programs. The vast majority of programs currently train residents in physics plan reviews. The most common teaching methods are observing and performing physics plan reviews, but there is variability in the level of resident involvement in clinical practice for physics plan reviews. There is room for the field to consider advancing current training methods, which is especially important given the critical roles that physics plan reviews have with regard to patient safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e166-e172
JournalPractical Radiation Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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