Oncology education in Canadian undergraduate and postgraduate medical programs: a survey of educators and learners

  • V.C. Tam Tom Baker Cancer Centre, University of Calgary
  • S. Berry University of Toronto
  • T. Hsu University of Toronto
  • S. North University of Alberta
  • A. Neville McMaster University
  • K. Chan University of Toronto
  • S. Verma University of Toronto
Keywords: Oncology education, Canada, undergraduate medical programs, postgraduate medical programs

Abstract

Background

The oncology education framework currently in use in Canadian medical training programs is unknown, and the needs of learners have not been fully assessed to determine whether they are adequately prepared to manage patients with cancer.

Methods

To assess the oncology education framework currently in use at Canadian medical schools and residency training programs for family (fm) and internal medicine (im), and to evaluate opinions about the content and utility of standard oncology education objectives, a Web survey was designed and sent to educators and learners. The survey recipients included undergraduate medical education curriculum committee members (umeccms), directors of fm and im programs, oncologists, medical students, and fm and im residents.

Results

Survey responses were received from 677 educators and learners. Oncology education was felt to be inadequate in their respective programs by 58% of umeccms, 57% of fm program directors, and 50% of im program directors. For learners, oncology education was thought to be inadequate by 67% of medical students, 86% of fm residents, and 63% of im residents. When comparing teaching of medical subspecialty– related diseases, all groups agreed that their trainees were least prepared to manage patients with cancer. A standard set of oncology objectives was thought to be possibly or definitely useful for undergraduate learners by 59% of respondents overall and by 61% of postgraduate learners.

Conclusions

Oncology education in Canadian undergraduate and postgraduate fm and im training programs are currently thought to be inadequate by a majority of educators and learners. Developing a standard set of oncology objectives might address the needs
of learners.

Author Biographies

V.C. Tam, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, University of Calgary
Department of Oncology
S. Berry, University of Toronto
Division of Hematology and Oncology, Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre
T. Hsu, University of Toronto
Division of Medical Oncology
S. North, University of Alberta
Department of Oncology, Cross Cancer Institute
A. Neville, McMaster University
Department of Oncology
K. Chan, University of Toronto
Division of Hematology and Oncology, Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre, Division of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Princess Margaret Hospital
S. Verma, University of Toronto
Division of Hematology and Oncology, Sunnybrook
Odette Cancer Centre
Published
2013-11-07
How to Cite
Tam, V., Berry, S., Hsu, T., North, S., Neville, A., Chan, K., & Verma, S. (2013). Oncology education in Canadian undergraduate and postgraduate medical programs: a survey of educators and learners. Current Oncology, 21(1), e75-e88. https://doi.org/10.3747/co.21.1667
Section
Oncology Education