RTF Template

UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM AND COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

RADIATION THERAPY (RT)

College of Science and Health
Department of Health Professions
Program Director: Melissa Weege
4031 Health Science Center, (608) 785-8470
e-mail: rtprogram@uwlax.edu



www.uwlax.edu/rt



Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapists are health care professionals skilled in the art and science of medical radiation treatment delivery. The majority of patients receiving radiation therapy have cancer. Along with surgery and chemotherapy, radiation therapy offers these patients the best chance to succeed in the fight against their disease. The major focus areas of the profession are the care and assessment of patients, simulation, planning and delivery of treatments utilizing linear accelerator produced radiation and radio-isotopes. Aims of care include cure, relief of symptoms, and improvement of patients' quality of life. High technology equipment and innovative treatment methods are utilized to maximize treatment effectiveness. Radiation therapists must have excellent technical skills, but must also be empathetic and effective communicators. Much satisfaction is gained from close patient interaction and the specialty's team approach with radiation oncologists, physicists, nurses and other medical specialists. Radiation therapy is 'technology with a human touch.'

The major in radiation therapy provides students with an educational foundation in the sciences and humanities as well as clinical experience in a radiation therapy department. The curriculum requires six semesters on campus in pre-professional and professional core courses prior to the senior clinical internship. The clinical internship begins in July of the senior year, extends for 13 months and is spent at an affiliated clinical internship site. When students have met all requirements of the major and the university, they are eligible for graduation and to apply to take the national certification exam.

UW-L, in cooperation with its clinical internship sites, currently provides the only training and baccalaureate degree program in radiation therapy in the State of Wisconsin. The radiation therapy program at UW-L is designed to offer a high quality radiation therapy curriculum rich in academic and clinical experiences. During the clinical internship, students will work directly with registered radiation therapists in direct patient care in busy and highly regarded radiation oncology departments. The program also seeks to foster, in its students, the professional development, problem solving and leadership skills needed for current and future health care environments.


Radiation Therapy Program Mission

The mission of the radiation therapy program at UW-L is to educate and train radiation therapists who are knowledgeable, technically competent and dedicated to their profession and their patients, while meeting the educational and personal needs of its students by emphasizing excellence in education and offering a broad based curriculum in liberal studies, professional courses and clinical internship. This program additionally seeks to promote research and provide a base for further professional development of graduates.


Radiation Therapy Major

(Science and Health) 118 total credits including internship

I. Pre-professional requirements (44 credits): BIO 105*, 312 and 313; CHM 103*, 104; CS 101* or CT 100*; MTH 151**; PHY 125* or PHY 103* and 104; MTH 145*; PSY 100* or SOC 110* or SOC 120*; ECO 110* or 120*.
II. Professional core requirements (30 credits): BIO 306, 432, 433; HP 250; PHY 386; RT 310, 325, 330, 350, 370, 390, 391, 400. (Satisfies SAH core requirements.)
III. Clinical internship requirements (44 credits): RT 401, 411, 412, 421, 431, 435, 437, 471, 472, 473, 474, 481.
IV. Recommended electives: HP 106; PSY 212, 334, 343, 347; SOC 420, 422; RT 499.

Note: Retention of good standing in the program requires that students maintain a grade of 'C' or higher in all required courses, as well as a semester and cumulative grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale. 

*This course will also fulfill General Education requirements.     

**Students whose math placement exam places them in MTH 207 (Calculus I) are not required to take MTH 151, but are required to take MTH 145.


Student Admission and Application

Admission to the program is on a competitive basis. 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 20. Admission to the major is on a competitive basis. Applications are available at the health professions department office or on the program's Web site; www.uwlax.edu/rt.

1. Students are advised to apply for admission to the professional program early in the late fall prior to desired admission, after having taken or registered for all general education and pre-professional requirements. (Deadline mid-December).
2. Applicants are required to have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale and a grade of 'C' or higher in all general education and pre-professional courses. Applicants are required to have a minimum pre-professional grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale. 
3. Applicants are required to successfully complete 40 hours of observation in a radiation therapy department. Students are encouraged to plan to visit during summer, spring break or between semesters. Some sites may require that the student have had a set of immunizations prior to the visit to comply with hospital policy.
4. Applicants are considered without regard to sex, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital or parental status.
5. Students for whom English is a second language must earn a minimum score of 600 (paper-based), 250 (computer-based), or 100 (Internet-based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a score of 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam within two years prior to application to the program.
6. Applications must be submitted in full by mid-December deadline to the health professions 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.


Radiation Therapy Affiliated Clinical Internship Sites

University of Wisconsin Hospital, Madison, WI
Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital, Milwaukee, WI
Gundersen-Lutheran Medical Center, La Crosse, WI
Advocate Lutheran Hospital, Park Ridge, IL
Columbia St. Mary's Hospital, Milwaukee, WI

The radiation therapy program incorporates a significant amount of writing through the required courses instead of identifying particular courses as writing emphasis courses. Students who complete the RT major will fulfill the university writing emphasis requirement.



RADIATION THERAPY (RT)


+ next to a course number indicate a GENERAL EDUCATION course


RT/HP  310  Cr.3

Pathophysiology

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. (Cross-listed with HP 310; may only earn credit from one department.) Prerequisite: BIO 312, BIO 313; admission to radiation therapy, nuclear medicine technology, or the UW School of Nursing. HP students admission to NMT or UW nursing program, overrides are understood.  Offered Fall.


RT  325  Cr.3

Radiation Therapy Readings, Writing and Research

This course introduces radiation therapy students to the language of radiation therapy and professional issues in the field by the use of selected readings. The Radiation Therapy Writing in the Major program will be introduced along with the types of writing practiced in the field. Students will learn basic research techniques and begin to apply them to their professional education. This course is designed to be taken concurrently with RT 310. Prerequisite: ENG 110 or ENG 112; MTH 145; concurrent enrollment in RT 310; admission to radiation therapy program.  Offered Fall.


RT  330  Cr.2

Professional Issues in Radiation Therapy

This course will provide students with knowledge related to the professional issues pertinent to the field of radiation therapy.  Course topics will include:  professional development, career advancement/options, radiation therapist scope of practice and practice standards, certification and licensure, radiation therapy professional organizations, legislative issues in radiation therapy, as well as ethics and introductory law in radiation therapy. Prerequisite: admission to Radiation Therapy Program.  Offered Fall.


RT  350  Cr.3

Patient Care Issues

This course will prepare students to work directly with patients in a health care setting. It will cover such topics as: communication and patient education, assessment, examination and monitoring of patients, body mechanics and patient handling skills, infection control, management of medical emergencies and CPR, nutritional counseling. Prerequisite: admission to Radiation Therapy Program.  Offered Spring.


RT  370  Cr.2

Health Care Systems and Human Resources in Radiation Therapy

This course will provide entry-level radiation therapists with the basic health system and human resource knowledge. Course topics will include characteristics of U.S. Health Care System, insurance, health care access, reimbursement in radiation therapy, and applicable human resource topics. Prerequisite: admission to Radiation Therapy Program.  Offered Spring.


RT  390  Cr.2

Medical Imaging

This course will provide radiation therapy students with theory and information regarding medical imaging procedures. Radiation therapists play a crucial role in imaging for treatment planning and treatment field verification. The course will provide instruction on analog and digital imaging, as well as various imaging modalities. Prerequisite: PHY 386; concurrent enrollment in RT 391; admission to radiation therapy program.  Offered Spring.


RT  391  Cr.1

Applied Concepts in Medical Imaging

This course will serve as a lab for the Medical Imaging (RT 390) course. 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. Prerequisite: concurrent enrollment with RT 390; admission to radiation therapy program.  Offered Spring.


RT  400  Cr.1

Clinical Internship Seminar

This course will prepare students for the clinical internship portion of the program. Course topics will include:  professional development, team building skills, radiation therapy terminology, basic clinical concepts, immobilization device construction, CPR, and radiation therapy equipment basics. Prerequisite: admission to Radiation Therapy Program.  Offered Spring.


RT  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. Prerequisite: RT 310, RT 350: admission to radiation therapy program; assignment to a clinical internship site.  Offered Summer.


RT  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. Prerequisite: RT 310, RT 350, RT 401, RT 471; admission to radiation therapy program; assignment to clinical internship site.  Offered Fall.


RT  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. Prerequisite: RT 411, RT 421, RT 472; admission to radiation therapy program; assignment to clinical internship site.  Offered Spring.


RT  421  Cr.3

Cross Sectional, Topographic & 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. Prerequisite: BIO 313, RT 390, RT 401; admission to radiation therapy program; assignment to clinical internship site.  Offered Fall.


RT  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. Prerequisite: PHY 386, RT 401; admission to radiation therapy program; assignment to clinical internship site.  Offered Fall.


RT  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. Prerequisite: RT 411, RT 421, RT 431; admission to radiation therapy program; assignment to clinical internship site.  Offered Spring.


RT  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. Prerequisite: RT 411, RT 431 admission to radiation therapy program; assignment to clinical internship site.  Offered Spring.


RT  471  Cr.3

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. Prerequisite: RT 310, RT 350, RT 390; admission to radiation therapy program; assignment to clinical internship site.  Offered Summer.


RT  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. Prerequisite: RT 401, RT 471; admission to radiation therapy program; assignment to clinical internship site.  Offered Fall.


RT  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. Prerequisite: RT 411, RT 421, RT 431, RT 472; admission to radiation therapy program; assignment to clinical internship site.  Offered Spring.


RT  474  Cr.4

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. Prerequisite: RT 412, RT 435, RT 437, RT 473; admission to radiation therapy program; assignment to clinical internship site.  Offered Summer.


RT  481  Cr.3

Seminar in Radiation Therapy

The 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 prepare for the national certification exam. Prerequisite: RT 412, RT 435, RT 437; admission to radiation therapy program; assignment to clinical internship site.  Offered Summer.


RT  499  Cr.1 - 3

Independent Study in Radiation Therapy

Independent study in radiation therapy may include individual readings and writing, projects, or research under the direction of a radiation therapy instructor. Prerequisite: Admission by consent of the instructor and the radiation therapy program director. Repeatable for credit – maximum 6 credits.   Offered Occasionally.