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Course Descriptions

Courses at CancerCare Manitoba

Industrial Therapy, Imaging and Apparatus

Radiation therapy is a field of constantly evolving technology used for treatment delivery and image acquisition.  A survey of current and past equipment in radiation treatment is provided.  The ability to acquire images using a variety of modalities, the basic principles of imaging techniques and criteria are discussed in relation to the radiation therapy department. The student is provided with information on traditional radiography and current digital practice. The lab component of this course provides an opportunity to apply theoretical principles in a simulated setting.

Radiation Physics

The practice of radiation therapy requires exact measurements and accurate dose delivery. Physics is the basic science which provides knowledge regarding ionizing radiation and how it fits into the electromagnetic spectrum, how radiation is produced and how it interacts with matter. This course is designed to provide the student with a fundamental understanding of the physical nature of both photons and electrons, and specifically the manner in which they interact with an absorbing/scattering medium. The knowledge acquired in this course, combined with that from the other courses offered in this program will assist the student radiation therapist in problem solving, critical thinking and making appropriate clinical decisions.

Professional Practice and Patient Care

Term 1 focuses on a number of aspects relating to the practice of radiation therapy within the framework of the health-care environment. It provides the knowledge and skills necessary to practice competently and empathetically in a radiation therapy department. Topics covered include: patient management; communication skills; assessment skills which include problem solving and critical thinking; patient education (theory and practice); physiological needs; and general and site-related side effects of cancer treatment. 

All topics will include general information as well as an emphasis on cancer patients and the associated treatments particularly radiation therapy. The lab component of this course provides opportunity to put theory into practice in simulated situations.

Term 2 focuses on global issues of health care with specific application to the cancer patient. It also includes further development of knowledge and skills attained in Term 1 and Clinical Education 1.  The information covered will continue to provide the knowledge and skills necessary to practice competently and empathetically as a radiation therapist.

Students will be expected to transfer skills to new situations and to apply critical thinking as it relates to patient assessment, interventions and evaluation of care provided. Topics covered include: health-care delivery systems; professionalism; legal and ethical aspects of care; psychosocial issues; patient assessment and problem solving; and issues that support the physiological and psychological wellbeing of a patient. 

The assignment will focus on alternative and/or complementary therapies a patient might consider.  The lab component of this course provides opportunities to put theory into practice in simulated situations.

Clinical Radiation Oncology

Term 1 provides the student with increased knowledge relating to the effects of malignancies of the human body and an understanding about the use of radiation therapy in order to treat patients who have a malignant disease. Guest facilitators, self-directed learning packages, co-operative learning and practical labs connected to theory and individual research will be included in the delivery of this course. The content of this course is cross-referenced and may be applied and tested in Fundaments of Care, Treatment Planning and Imaging and Apparatus.

Term 2 is a continuation of Term 1, covering further malignant and non-malignant sites that a Radiation Therapist can expect to encounter in practice.

Radiation Protection

This course focuses on radiation safety issues pertaining to radiation therapy and provides students with the knowledge necessary to optimize safety when working with clinical sources of radiation. Topics covered include: review of the basic physical characteristics of radioactive materials; radiation and the interaction of radiation with matter; detecting and measuring radiation for a range of radiation types and applications; the potential biological effects and risks associated with exposure to radiation; the physical and biological basis for, and the application of, the quantities used in radiation protection to describe radiation "dose"; fundamental principles of radiation protection and their application within the radiotherapy environment; Canadian radiation protection regulatory agencies, including their respective responsibilities, jurisdictions and regulations, with the emphasis on Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) regulations and dose limits; and radiation hazards and control measures specifically associated with the various types of radiation emitting devices and radioactive sources encountered in radiation therapy.

Treatment Planning & Dosimetry

Term 1 provides the student with the basic concepts of treatment planning and clinical dosimetry in preparation for Clinical 1. Treatment Planning is a highly technical and critical process in administering ionizing radiation and therefore is a compulsory course for all students enrolled in the Radiation Therapy program. Because of the dangers inherent in the use of ionizing radiation, it is important that the therapist who plans and executes the treatment be fully aware of the various factors which need to be considered when using radiation for treatment of patients. Radiation Therapists require the knowledge and skill to design a treatment plan, combining the technical/mechanical aspects of radiation emitting equipment, specific to an individual's needs (physical and emotional).

Term 2 is a continuation of Term 1's Treatment Planning and Dosimetry. This course focuses on the application of previously learned information. The course provides opportunities for the student to apply knowledge in other related areas to the skilled and accurate planning of treatment.  Treatment plans will be designed combining technical aspects (such as 3D conformal imaging, 3D imaging, adjacent fields, electron therapy, etc.), specific to the needs of the patient. In order to enhance learning, students will be encouraged to critique a variety of treatment plans, both as a method of evaluating their own work in terms of accuracy, efficiency and feasibility, as well as a quality assurance tool, promoting excellence in the field of radiation therapy.

Radiation Biology

The radiation biology course provides an understanding of how radiation interacts with the human body. This knowledge will assist the student in providing quality care for the radiation-therapy patient. The student will foster their development of critical thinking skills through the application of radiation biology theory to clinical situations. Basic concepts in genetics, sub-cellular chemistry and the physics of radiation absorption will be explored. Understanding radiobiological concepts such as fractionation, oxygenation, and volume effect and tissue tolerance doses will facilitate an appreciation of current clinical practice.



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