RADIATION THERAPY (R-T)

See College of Science and Allied Health,

Professor: Weeks;
Lecturers: Saeger (Program Director), Heinz, Wessels.

Radiation Therapy Major
(Science and Allied Health)

Pre-professional requirements -
35 credits, including BIO 101*, 312 and 313; CHM 103*, 104; C-S 101*; MTH 151**; PHY 125 or PHY 103* and 104; PSY 100* or SOC 110* or SOC 120*

Professional core requirements -
27 credits, including BIO 306, 432, 433; CST 354; ECO 471; HED 360; PHY 386; R-T 310, 350, and 390.
(Satisfies college core requirements.)

Clinical internship requirements -
46 credits, including R-T 401, 411, 412, 421, 431, 435, 437, 471, 472, 473, 474, and 481.

Recommended electives -
CSC 106; MGT 398; MTH 205; PHL 339; SOC 420 and 422.

Note: Retention of good standing in the program requires that students maintain a grade of "C" or better in all required courses.

Student Admission and Application:
The number of students admitted to the major is dependent on the number of clinical internship sites and their student capacity. Class sizes are approximately 12-15. Admission to the major is on a competitive basis. Applications are available at the clinical science department office.

  1. Students are advised to apply for admission to the professional program early in the spring prior to desired admission, after having taken or registered for the pre-professional requirements.
  2. Applicants are advised to have a major portion of their general education requirements met by the time of application as well.
  3. Applicants are required to have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale and a grade of "C" or better in all required courses.
  4. Applicants are required to successfully complete 40 hours of observation in a radiation therapy department. Students are encouraged to plan to visit during summer, semester and spring break times. Some sites may require that the student have had a set of immunizations prior to the visit to comply with hospital policy.
  5. Applicants are considered without regard to sex, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital or parental status.
  6. Applications must be submitted in full by the February 1st deadline to the clinical science office.

Selection process:
A selection committee will be appointed to review all completed applications, interview all qualified candidates and make selection decisions. The committee carefully considers each applicant, looking at academic performance, personal characteristics and experiences that predict success in the field.

Acceptance is effective at the beginning of the junior year conditional upon successful completion of courses in progress at the time of notification of acceptance. Selection is also conditional upon students' compliance with state laws for caregivers including submission to a criminal background check. Students take the professional core courses in La Crosse.

Students who successfully meet program requirements in the professional core courses will interview with the clinical internship sites and upon selection by one of the sites will be placed for the clinical internship. While student preferences in internship site are taken into account, students cannot be guaranteed that they will be assigned in accordance with their choices of clinical site.

R-T 310 Cr. 3
Pathology for Radiation Therapists
This course focuses on the pathophysiologic disorders that affect healthy systems across the life span. Theories of disease causation are introduced. Areas of emphasis include cellular and systemic responses, clinical manifestations and the response of tissue to radiation damage. Acquired, immune, infectious, carcinogenic and genetic alterations in body systems are included. Prerequisites: BIO 312, 313 and acceptance into radiation therapy. The course is open to a limited number of students not in radiation therapy for whom instructor approval is required in addition to the prerequisites. Offered Sem. I.

R-T 350 Cr. 3
Patient Care Issues
This course, taught in modules, will prepare students to work directly with patients in a health care setting. It will cover such topics as: basic concepts of patient care, assessment, examination and monitoring of patients, body mechanics and patient handling skills, infection control, management of medical emergencies and CPR, nutritional counseling, patient education, pharmacology and legal aspects of health care. Prerequisites: BIO 312 and 313, R-T 310, and HED 360 or consent of the instructor. While designed for radiation therapy majors, other allied health students may benefit from the course. Offered Sem. II.

R-T 390 Cr. 3
Medical Imaging
This course will serve as a "lab" for the Radiation Physics Course (PHY 386) taught in the previous semester. After learning about the production and measurement of x-rays for diagnosis and treatment, students will focus on imaging aspects. Study of the equipment used to produce x-rays will lead to discussion of machine settings and technical factors involved in producing good quality radiographs. Students will learn about film types, characteristics and development as well as other related equipment. Lab time will be provided in which students will learn by discovery and develop competency through practice. Lect. 2, Lab. 2. Prerequisites: PHY 386 and admission to radiation therapy major. Offered Sem. II.

R-T 401 Cr. 3
Introduction to Radiation Therapy
This course, the first in the clinical internship, will provide the student with an overview of the profession of radiation therapy and its role in health care delivery and cancer management. Students will be oriented to the academic and administrative format of the internship site as well as safety practices of the hospital and radiation therapy department. The radiation therapy process will be identified and discussed along with critical steps in treatment procedures. Students will be prepared for working with patients by learning about charting and documentation as well as appropriate patient/therapist interactions. Prerequisites: R-T 310 and 350, acceptance in the major, assignment to a clinical internship site. Offered summer session.

R-T 411 Cr. 4
Principles and Practice of Radiation Therapy I
This course, taught during the clinical internship year, addresses the concepts of cancer treatment, focusing primarily on radiation therapy. Methods of improving therapeutic advantage are investigated. Students learn safe and effective use of equipment and accessories along with the rationale for their clinical application. Technical aspects of treatment simulation and delivery are developed. Treatment related side effects and their management and special patient situations are addressed. Prerequisites: R-T 310, 350, 401, and 471, acceptance in the major, and placement in clinical internship site. Offered Sem. I.

R-T 412 Cr. 4
Principles and Practice of Radiation Therapy II
This course, taught during the clinical internship, advances the student's knowledge of neoplastic disease management. Cancers and some benign conditions of various body sites are discussed in relation to natural history, treatment and prognosis. Technical aspects related to radiation planning and delivery are closely investigated as well as pertinent anatomical considerations, combination therapy, treatment results and the therapist's role in disease management. Lect. 3, Lab. 2. Prerequisites: R-T 411, 421 and 472, and acceptance in the major, assignment to clinical internship site. Offered Sem. II.

R-T 421 Cr. 2
Cross-Sectional, Topographic and Radiographic Anatomy
This course, taught during the clinical internship, revisits anatomy specifically from an imaging perspective. Students will learn to identify structures and pathology on x-rays, CT and MRI scans and locate topographic landmarks on diagnostic and simulation films. Prerequisites: BIO 313, R-T 390 and 401, acceptance in the major, and assignment to clinical internship site. Offered Sem. I.

R-T 431 Cr. 3
Radiation Therapy Physics
This course, taught during the clinical internship, expands the student's understanding of physics related to radiation therapy. Topics include the components and operation of linear accelerators and other treatment machines, brachytherapy, specification and modification of beam quality and characteristics, measurement of absorbed dose, treatment machine calibration, beam geometry and treatment with particles. Prerequisites: PHY 386 and R-T 401, acceptance in the major, and assignment to a clinical internship site. Offered Sem. I.

R-T 435 Cr. 3
Dosimetry and Treatment Planning
This course, taught during the clinical internship, focuses on the characteristics, measurement and manipulation of radiation dose delivery in treatment. This involves advanced concepts of methods of altering dose to optimize the effectiveness of the radiation treatment. Treatment planning for a variety of tumor sites and situations is discussed. Prerequisites: R-T 411, 421, and 431, acceptance in the major, and assignment to clinical internship site. Offered Sem. II.

R-T 437 Cr. 2
Quality Management in Radiation Therapy
This course, taught during the clinical internship, focuses on the purpose and techniques of quality management in a radiation oncology program. The importance of documentation, consistent application of specified protocols and assessment of outcomes are addressed. The responsibilities of the radiation therapist within the radiation oncology team for quality functions are highlighted. Prerequisites: R-T 411 and 431, acceptance in the major, and assignment to clinical internship site. Offered Sem. II.

R-T 471 Cr. 5
Clinical Practicum I
This course, offered the first summer session of the clinical internship, will orient students to the clinical operation of the internship site. Students will observe staff operations in the radiation therapy clinic, simulation, treatment planning, and treatment delivery areas. Thirty-six (36) hours of out-of-class activities. Prerequisites: R-T 310, 350, and 390, acceptance in the major, and assignment to a clinical internship site. Offered summer session.

R-T 472 Cr. 6
Clinical Practicum II
This course, offered fall semester of the clinical internship, will progress students' clinical skills from observation in simulation, treatment planning and treatment delivery to the point of participation and development of basic competencies. Thirty-one (31) hours of out-of-class activities. Prerequisites: R-T 401 and 471, acceptance in the major, and assignment to a clinical internship site. Offered Sem. I.

R-T 473 Cr. 6
Clinical Practicum III
This course, offered spring semester of the clinical internship, will offer students the opportunity to continue the process of developing competence and confidence in the areas of simulation, treatment planning and treatment delivery. They will demonstrate competence in intermediate and some advanced procedures. Students will also be given opportunity to work in dosimetry. Thirty (30) hours of out-of-class activities. Prerequisites: R-T 411, 421, 431, and 472, acceptance in the major, and assignment to a clinical internship site. Offered Sem. II.

R-T 474 Cr. 5
Clinical Practicum IV
This course, offered during the final summer session of the clinical internship, will complete the students clinical education experience. By the end of this course, students will have developed proficiency and confidence in areas of simulation, treatment planning and treatment delivery. They will complete all required competencies. Opportunities to broaden the experience and work with different equipment, techniques and advanced procedures will be offered. Thirty-six (36) hours of out-of-class activities. Prerequisites: R-T 412, 435, 437, and 473, acceptance in the major, and assignment to a clinical internship site. Offered summer session.

R-T 481 Cr. 3
Seminar in Radiation Therapy
This course, offered during the clinical internship, is a capstone course in which students present patient case information, discuss application of radiation science theory, review and critique journal articles and conduct research. Research methods and statistical analysis will be reviewed and applied. Prerequisites: R-T 412, 435, and 437, acceptance in the major, and assignment to clinical internship site. Offered summer session.