Medical students' reactions to their experience in oncology and its contribution to their training

Netta Notzer, Ran Tur-Kaspa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The need to deepen the teaching of oncology was recognized by the Sackler Faculty of Medicine. In 2004, a weekly short clerkship was introduced into the 6th year curriculum, aiming to expose students to a variety of cancer diseases and treatments and to internalize the comprehensive approach to the patient and his family by the multi-professional team. Objectives of the study: To present students' reactions to their experiences in oncology in order to learn about the clerkship's contribution and to find ways to improve the training. Material and methods: A questionnaire was circulated to students at the end of their experiences. The response rate was 87% (out of 83), of which 55% were women. The answers were summarized by qualitative and quantitative methods. Results: The students perceived the change in their attitude to cancer patients as a result of the acquisition of knowledge and their exposure to treatments of the diseases and patients (75%). They highly appreciated the implementation of the patient-doctor relationship and the multidisciplinary teamwork (over 50%), transforming the oncologist into a different physician from his colleagues (70%), and more optimistic as to the prognosis. Twenty-five percent of the students expressed their interest in becoming involved with oncology in the future. While women noted the behavioral aspects of oncology significantly more than men, men indicated a greater appreciation of the knowledge and technologies they encountered. No relationship was found with the occurrence of cancer in the students' families. Conclusions: With the growing need to deepen physicians' empathy with patients and their families, especially with long-term diseases and health problems, oncology departments were found to serve as a unique site, suitable for training students. This was asserted by the students' reactions to the clerkship, as expressed in this study. The students furthermore expressed their preference for broader training exposure to palliative care and pain relief, and increased involvement in clinical work rather than didactics.

Original languageHebrew
Pages (from-to)32-35
Number of pages4
Issue number1 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical training
  • Doctor-patient relationship
  • Medical curriculum
  • Multi-professional team
  • Teaching oncology


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