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Cancer Rehabilitation Education During Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency: Preliminary Data Regarding the Quality and Quantity of Experiences

Raj, Vishwa S. MD; Balouch, Jamal DO; Norton, James H. PhD

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: May 2014 - Volume 93 - Issue 5 - p 445–452
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000000060
Education & Administration

Objective The purpose of this study was to gather descriptive information from residency program directors regarding characteristics of the education and experiences of resident physicians in oncology rehabilitation.

Design The program directors responded to a 28-question survey. Information collected included general descriptors of residency programs, oncology rehabilitation services lines within the institution, educational and clinical opportunities for trainees, and perceptions of quality for oncology experiences.

Results Thirty-eight responses, with a response rate of 48%, were recorded. Thirty-two percent of the programs did not have any dedicated faculty for cancer rehabilitation. A majority of the respondents felt that cancer rehabilitation should be an important component of the curriculum. Sixty-six percent of the programs admitted only one to two cancer diagnoses to their inpatient units per week, and 26% had outpatient clinics that focused specifically on rehabilitation needs for oncology patients. A majority of the programs felt that experiences were only average and that residents do not receive adequate exposure to cancer rehabilitation during their training.

Conclusions Although cancer rehabilitation is considered an important area of education, quality and quantity of experiences may be improved. Several opportunities may exist to improve such exposure in anticipation of serving the functional needs for a growing population of cancer survivors.

From the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Carolinas Rehabilitation, Charlotte, North Carolina.

All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Vishwa S. Raj, MD, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Carolinas Rehabilitation, 1100 Blythe Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203.

Financial disclosure statements have been obtained, and no conflicts of interest have been reported by the authors or by any individuals in control of the content of this article.

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins