About the Program

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Medical Dosimetry

About the Program

The Profession expanding section

The medical dosimetrist is a member of the radiation oncology team that plays a role in the management/treatment of cancer. Medical Dosimetry allows professionals to utilize their knowledge of mathematics, medical physics, science, and critical thinking in his/her everyday work. Medical Dosimetrists specialize in the planning of optimal radiation treatment techniques and dose calculations in collaboration with the medical physicist and radiation oncologist.

The professional organization, American Association of Medical Dosimetrists (AAMD) provides an in depth description of the medical dosimetry profession and the skills required. 

Career Outlook

The future job market for Medical Dosimetry is strong. The advances in treatment planning continue to increase the demand for qualified medical dosimetrists. Wages are comparable with other healthcare professions. Given the diversity and ever changing technology of the job, lifelong career satisfaction is achievable.

Certification

After successful completion of the medical dosimetry program and several months of work experience, students are eligible to apply to take the medical dosimetry certification exam.  The exam is held in various locations throughout the United States annually.  The Medical Dosimetry Certification Board (MDCB) is the credentialing body for the certification exam.

Missions, Goals, Outcomes expanding section

Mission

The Medical Dosimetry Program at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse is committed to the education of medical dosimetrists who are knowledgeable, competent, and dedicated to their profession and their patients.

Goals & Student Learning Outcomes (SLO)

    1. Students will demonstrate competence in medical dosimetry.
      • SLO: Students will demonstrate the ability to contour structures against a gold standard.
      • Students will calculate the correction for incorrect radiation delivery.
    2. Students will use critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary to practice in current and emerging technology.
      • SLO: Students will compare and critique multiple plans for a specific patient treatment
      • SLO:  Students will critique plans and identify methods for improvement
    3. Students will demonstrate effective communication skills.
      • SLO: Students will apply effective oral communication skills.
      • SLO: Students will demonstrate effective written communication skills.
    4. Students will develop and exhibit professional practices.
      • SLO: Students will demonstrate professional behavior during an interview process.
      • SLO: Students will integrate patient safety into daily practice.
    5. Students will demonstrate research skills needed to approach medical dosimetry with scholarly rigor.
      • SLO: Students will be competent in effective research principles.
    6. The program will successfully meet the needs of its students and communities of interest.
      • SLO: Students will complete all graduation requirements.
      • SLO: Students will pass the national certification exam.
      • SLO: Graduates will obtain employment within 12 months of graduation.
      • SLO: Employers will exhibit satisfaction with the graduates' performance.
      • SLO: Graduates will exhibit their preparedness from the clinical experience and satisfaction with the program.
Accreditation expanding section

The University is accredited at the institutional level by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. Additionally, the UWL- Medical Dosimetry program is accredited by a discipline-specific, professional accreditation organization - the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology.

The program completed the most recent accreditation site visit in July of 2011 and received an 8 year accreditation, with no citations. This is the maximum accreditation awarded by the JRCERT. The interim report is due in 2015 and a re-accreditation is due in 2019.  The 2019 site visit was cancelled due to a health-related emergency on the site visit team.  The 2020 site visit was cancelled due to COVID-19.  We are hopeful to have a site visit in Fall 2020.

For more information regarding accreditation of medical dosimetry programs, visit the JRCERT web site at www.jrcert.org.

JRCERT
20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 2850
Chicago, IL 60606-3182
Phone: (312) 704-5300
Fax: (312) 704-5304 

What does an accredited program mean to a prospective student?             

  • The profession is assured, through programmatic accreditation, that educational programs in the field are providing consistent minimum education in the profession as the profession itself has defined it.
  • Through the process of programmatic accreditation, educators are assured that their educational programs are keeping pace with the profession and with standards developed through national consensus.
  • Accreditation of educational programs assures patients that students who perform procedures have appropriate supervision during the educational process. It also assures them that graduates will have met the minimum level of competency as defined nationally by the profession.
  • Accreditation of an educational program provides students, as graduates, assurance that the educational program will provide them with the requisite knowledge, skills, and values to competently perform the range of professional responsibilities expected by potential employers nationwide. It also assures they will be eligible for licensure in each of the 50 states. By requiring programs to teach the entire curriculum developed by the professional society, the American Society of Radiologic Technology, it also assures students they will have the foundation knowledge to continue to develop as professionals in the various fields of the radiation sciences.                

(www.jrcert.org, 2008)

Program Effectiveness expanding section

The UWL Medical Dosimetry program statistics include graduate statistics from various internship locations throughout the U.S.  The success of the graduates is due to their motivation & hard-work as well as the commitment and dedication of the faculty, clinical instructors, clinical preceptors, and mentors at each clinical internship site.  The program faculty and advisory committee ensures the highest quality of education and that the graduates are well prepared to enter the profession.

UW-La Crosse Medical Dosimetry Program Program Effectiveness Data
Outcome Measurement Tool Benchmark Timeframe Results
Attrition Program Completion Rate 90% Annual 2018 97% 28/29
2017 93% 28/30
2016 95% 18/19
2015 100% 24/24
2014 100% 21/21
5 yr Avg 97% 123/127
Pass Rate Credentialing Exam Pass Rate 75% 5 year average pass rate @ 1st attempt within 12 months of graduation 2018 96% 27/28
2017 93% 26/28
2016 100% 17/17
2015 78% 18/23
2014 85% 11/13
5 yr Avg 91% 99/109
Employment Job Placement Rate 75% 5 year average job placement rate within 12 months of graduation 2018 100% 28/28
2017 100% 28/28
2016 100% 18/18
2015 100% 24/24
2014 100% 21/21
5 yr Avg 100% 119/119
Graduate Satisfaction Graduate Survey sent after 12 months of employment 2018: 5 point scale; #15 & #19 3.75 or >
Annual 2018

4.00

 


15/28

 


2014 - 2017: (#19) Avg 2.5 or > (3 point scale) 4.38 13/28
2017 2.78 23/28
2016 2.80 12/18
2015 2.56 16/24
2014 2.72 8/12
May2014 2.98 4/9
Employer Satisfaction Employer Survey sent after 12 months of employment (#4) Avg 3 or > (5 point scale) Annual 2018 4.62 7/28
2017 4.41 10/27
2016 4.36 9/18
2015 4.53 6/24
2014 4.41 4/12
May2014 4.42 7/9

Visit JRCERT for more information about JRCERT accredited programs and program effectiveness data.

Assessment
Assessment of student learning takes place at four levels at the university:

  • Institution-wide assessment
  • Assessment of student learning outcomes in general education
  • Assessment of student learning outcomes in each undergraduate and graduate academic program
  • Assessment of student learning in individual courses

The program develops, implements, and analyzes an annual outcomes assessment plan to:

  • promote programmatic improvement
  • improve teaching and learning
  • facilitate accountability
  • identify program strengths
Program Tracks expanding section
Track A - for registered radiation therapists with a BS/BA

The Medical Dosimetry program's Master's Degree (Track A) is a 16 month  program. Clinical internship will take place from January through December. The didactic online courses begin in the fall semester prior to starting clinical internship training. This Master's degree program not only delivers the core medical dosimetry curriculum, it also offers advanced professional and research coursework that prepares graduates for future advancement in the profession.  Upon graduation, the student is eligible to sit for the MDCB exam. This program adheres to all JRCERT accreditation standards.

Program highlights include:

  • online courses with a high degree of interaction with instructors and peers
  • 46 credits
  • clinical internship sites located throughout the U.S. with new sites established annually 
Track B - for individuals with a BS/BA)

The Medical Dosimetry program's Master's Degree (Track B) is a 16 month program. This is a great option for students who have recently completed their undergraduate degree in the sciences. Clinical internship will take place from January through December. The didactic online courses begin in the fall semester prior to starting clinical internship training. This Master's degree program not only delivers the core medical dosimetry curriculum, it also offers advanced professional and research coursework that prepares graduates for future advancement in the profession.  Upon graduation, the student is eligible to sit for the MDCB exam. This program adheres to all JRCERT accreditation standards.  

Program highlights include:

  • online courses with a high degree of interaction with instructors and peers
  • 46 credits
  • clinical internship sites located throughout the U.S. with new sites established annually 
Track C - for CMD's (or board eligible) with a BS/BA degree

Track C is the Master of Science degree completion program for Certified Medical Dosimetrists (CMD's) who are currently employed and want to obtain a master's degree.  The online program enables CMD's to earn a master's degree in the profession with minimal disruption to their lives.  The percentage of medical dosimetrists obtaining higher education is increasing.  This flexible online program strongly emphasizes professional and academic growth.  Advanced program courses such as Professional Issues, Protocols & Studies in Radiation Oncology, and Research courses can enhance competitiveness for advanced level positions with increased pay in areas of management, senior medical dosimetry, education, applications, or research. 

Program highlights include:

  • online curriculum, enhancing the ability to "juggle" busy schedules
  • 31 credits can be completed:
    • in 3 semesters (1 year) as a cohort-based program with fellow classmates with the same start/end time; or
    • OR part-time (2 years); taking fewer courses each semester (some courses must be taken in sequence).
  • practicum experience designed to be completed at the current place of employment
Graduate Research expanding section

An important concept of the Medical Dosimetry Program is evidence-based practice. Therefore, graduate students are given the opportunity to perform research through practicum experiences. 

The program faculty encourage students to present and/or publish their research. The American Association of Medical Dosimetrists (AAMD) offers an annual writing competition for students and for medical dosimetry professionals.  Students are encouraged to enter the writing competition after their research is completed.  They are also encouraged to submit their research for publication within the various professional organization publications, such as Medical Dosimetry  journal or the Radiation Therapist  journal.

Research accepted for publication or recognized for awards are listed here.

Graduate Publications

Kehkashan Ahmad

2009

VMAT vs. 7-Field-IMRT: Assessing the Dosimetric Parameters of Prostate Cancer Treatment with a 292-Patient Sample

Michelle Howard

2013

Incidence of Burnout or Compassion Fatigue Reported Among Medical Dosimetrists

Patricia Sponseller

2012

A case study of radiotherapy planning for Intensity Modulation Radiation Therapy for the whole scalp with matching electron treatment

Patricia Sponseller 2014 Radiation treatment for newly diagnosed esophageal cancer with prior radiation to the thoracic cavity
Patricia Sponseller 2014 Measurable improvement in patient safety culture: A departmental experience with incident learning
Lee Culp & AJ Kressin 2014 Challenges of Diagnosing and Treating Male Breast Cancer: Radiation Oncology Case Studies
Patricia Sponseller 2015 Radiation treatment for the right naris in a pediatric anesthesia patient using an adaptive oral airway technique
Katrina Lee 2015

Whole-brain hippocampal sparing radiation therapy: Volume-modulated arc therapy vs intensity-modulated radiation therapy case study

Ontida Apinorasethkul 2016

Urethral dose sparing in squamous cell carcinoma of anal canal using proton therapy matching electrons with prior brachytherapy for prostate cancer: A case study

Ross McCall, Grayden Maclennan, & Matthew Taylor  2016 Anatomical Contouring Variability in Thoracic Organs at Risk
Ashley Coffey & Lisa Stevenson  2017 Whole breast nodal irradiation using supine VMAT and prone 3D planning: A case study
Alyssa Olson, Kristine Phillips, & Tamara Eng  2017 Assessing dose variance from immobilization devices in VMAT head and neck treatment planning: A retrospective case study analysis
Evgenia Nigay, Heath Bonsall, Beverly Meyer 2018 Offline adaptive radiation therapy in the treatment of prostate cancer: a case study
Aubrie Rice, Ian Zoller, Kevin Kocos, Dannyl Weller 2018 The implementation of RapidPlan in predicting deep inspiration breath-hold candidates with left-sided breast cancer

Zach Stauch, Kayla Tedrick

2019

An evaluation of adaptive planning by assessing the dosimetric impact of weight loss throughout the course of radiotherapy in bilateral treatment of head and neck cancer patients

Nancy Gustafson, Teri Burrier, Brittany Butler

2019

Correlation of hot spot to breast separation in patients treated with postlumpectomy tangent 3D-CRT using field-in-field technique and mixed photon energies

Karen Lang, Brianne Loritz, Adam Schwartz

2019

Dosimetric comparison between volumetric-modulated arc therapy and a hybrid volumetric-modulated arc therapy and segmented field-in-field technique for postmastectomy chest wall and regional lymph node irradiation

Jeanette Keil, Joanne Carda, Jade Reihart

2020

A dosimetric study using split x-jaw planning technique for the treatment of endometrial carcinoma

AAMD Student Dosimetrist Writing Competition Awards

Brandie Warfel      2009 1st Place: Virtual Reality Simulation and Prone Breast Patients
Ashley Pyfferoen 2014 3rd Place: Brachial Plexus Dose Limitations in Apical Lung Cancer: A Case Study

Ross McCall, Grayden MacLennan, & Matthew Taylor

2016

1st Place: Anatomical Contouring Variability in Thoracic Organs at Risk

Karen Lang, Brianne Loritz, Adam Schwartz

2019

2nd Place: Dosimetric Comparison between Volumetric-Modulated Arc Therapy and a Hybrid Volumetric-Modulated Arc Therapy and Segmented Field-in-Field Technique for Post-Mastectomy Chest Wall and Regional Lymph Node Irradiation

AAMD Dosimetrist Writing Competition Awards

Michelle Howard      2012 1st Place: The incidence of burnout or compassion fatigue in medical dosimetrists as a function of various stress and other factors
Patricia Sponseller 2014 3rd Place: Radiation Treatment for the Right Naris in a Pediatric Anesthesia Patient Using an Adaptive Oral Airway Technique