PURPOSE: We evaluated the impact of a virtual radiation oncology clerkship.METHODS AND MATERIALS: We developed a 2-week virtual radiation oncology clerkship that launched on April 27, 2020. Clerkship components included a virtual clinic with radiation oncology faculty and residents, didactic lectures, student talks, and supplemental sessions such as tumor boards and chart rounds. Medical students completed pre- and post-clerkship self-assessments. Faculty and resident participants also completed surveys on their experience with virtual lectures and clinics. Pre- and post-clerkship results were compared using a 2-sided paired t test. An analysis of variance model was used to analyze the clerkship components.RESULTS: Twenty-six medical students, including 4 visiting students, enrolled over 2 clerkship periods (4 weeks). All students completed the pre- and post-clerkship self-assessments and agreed that the clerkship improved their understanding of radiation oncology. Compared with 3 (11.5%) students who agreed that they understood the daily responsibilities of a radiation oncologist before the clerkship, 22 (84.6%) students agreed and 3 (11.5%) strongly agreed that they understood the daily responsibilities of a radiation oncologist after the clerkship (P < .0001). Although 15 students (57.7%) reported an increased interest in radiation oncology because of the clerkship, the mean level of interest in radiation oncology as a career remained the same, with pre- and post-clerkship scores of 3.0 (±0.9) and 3.0 (±1.1) on a 5-point scale, respectively (P = .7). Students found virtual clinic and didactic lectures to be the most valuable components of the clerkship. Most respondents agreed (30.8%) or strongly agreed (65.4%) to recommend the clerkship to their classmates.CONCLUSIONS: Our virtual clerkship was effective in increasing medical student interest in and knowledge about radiation oncology. These data will help optimize a new paradigm of virtual radiation oncology education for medical students during COVID-19 and beyond.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.06.050
View details for PubMedID 32890529