Purpose: Increased complexity of interventional radiotherapy (brachytherapy - BT) treatment planning and quality control procedures has led to the need of a specific training. However, the details of the features of BT learning objectives and their distribution in the training paths of the Italian Radiation Oncology Schools are not known. This paper aims to provide the actual 'state-of-the-art' of BT education in Italy and to stimulate the debate on this issue.
Material and methods: All the Italian radiation oncology schools' directors (SD) were involved in a web survey, which included questions on the teaching of BT, considering also the 2011 ESTRO core curriculum criteria. The survey preliminary results were discussed at the 8th Rome INTER-MEETING (INTERventional Radiotherapy Multidisciplinary Meeting), June 24th, 2017. The present paper describes the final results of the survey and possible future teaching strategies resulting from the discussion.
Results: A total of 23 SDs answered the survey. The results evidenced a wide heterogeneity in the learning activities available to trainees in BT across the country. While theoretical knowledge is adequately and homogeneously transmitted to trainees, the types of practice to which they are exposed varies significantly among different schools.
Conclusions: This survey proves the need for an improvement of practical BT education in Italy and the advisability of a national BT education programme networking schools of different Universities. Beside the organization of national/international courses for BT practical teaching, Universities may also establish post-specialization courses ('second level' Masters) to allow professionals (already certified in radiation oncology) to acquire more advanced BT knowledge.