Childhood cancer survivorship educational resources in North American pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship training programs: a survey study

Paul C Nathan, Joshua D Schiffman, Sujuan Huang, Wendy Landier, Smita Bhatia, Debra Eshelman-Kent, Jennifer Wright, Kevin C Oeffinger, Melissa M Hudson
Pediatric Blood & Cancer 2011 December 15, 57 (7): 1186-90

BACKGROUND: Childhood cancer survivors require life-long care by clinicians with an understanding of the specific risks arising from the prior cancer and its therapy. We surveyed North American pediatric hematology/oncology training programs to evaluate their resources and capacity for educating medical trainees about survivorship.

PROCEDURE: An Internet survey was sent to training program directors and long-term follow-up clinic (LTFU) directors at the 56 US and Canadian centers with pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship programs. Perceptions regarding barriers to and optimal methods of delivering survivorship education were compared among training program and LTFU clinic directors.

RESULTS: Responses were received from 45/56 institutions of which 37/45 (82%) programs require that pediatric hematology/oncology fellows complete a mandatory rotation focused on survivorship. The rotation is 4 weeks or less in 21 programs. Most (36/45; 80%) offer didactic lectures on survivorship as part of their training curriculum, and these are considered mandatory for pediatric hematology/oncology fellows at 26/36 (72.2%). Only 10 programs (22%) provide training to medical specialty trainees other than pediatric hematology/oncology fellows. Respondents identified lack of time for trainees to spend learning about late effects as the most significant barrier to providing survivorship teaching. LTFU clinic directors were more likely than training program directors to identify lack of interest in survivorship among trainees and survivorship not being a formal or expected part of the fellowship training program as barriers.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this survey highlight the need to establish standard training requirements to promote the achievement of basic survivorship competencies by pediatric hematology/oncology fellows.

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