Training and Education
Proton therapy has been used to treat cancer patients for more than 50 years, but it wasn't until the ProCure Training and Development Center (TDC) opened in 2008 that a comprehensive proton therapy training program became available. Today physicians, technicians and even administrative staff can take advantage of "before-the-job" training rather than having to wait to train when a new center is complete and about to open.
ProCure's TDC is the first and only fully operational simulation facility in the world dedicated exclusively to proton therapy education and research. The courses offered at the TDC provide clinical and technical staff with the skills necessary to properly operate ProCure's highly advanced equipment, software and guidance systems. It can take up to 6 months to complete proton therapy training.
Caring for Patients
The TDC provides medical, technical, interpersonal, and administrative training for every aspect of proton therapy treatment and patient care. The focus is on supporting patients' emotional and day-to-day needs along with their medical care.
Hands-On Training From Experts
Training can take up to 6 months to complete and includes the science and application of proton therapy and procedures for treating specific diseases, such as brain, head and neck, central nervous system, and prostate tumors, as well as the special needs of pediatric patients.
With full-sized treatment rooms and actual proton equipment, the TDC simulates the total work environment for treating patients—with everything but the protons. It is a $10 million, 20,000-square-foot facility with 2 treatment rooms and a fully operational 49-CT scanner that is used to accurately "map" the patient's tumor location, size, and shape. There are treatment planning areas, an immobilization device planning area, and lecture rooms.
Class sizes are kept small—6 to 8 people at a time. Training begins with web-based coursework and continues at the TDC, where experts in the field provide hands-on instruction on the specialized proton treatment equipment. The online Learning Management System provides more than 300 courses, self-test exercises and examinations.
Need Is Increasing For Proton Professionals
As proton therapy centers open across the United States, there will be an increasing need for physicians, physicists, technicians, and others who have this specialized training. To encourage people to enter the field, ProCure has joined with Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington, Indiana, to develop a proton therapy program as part of its radiation therapy program, and is collaborating with Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma City, on a program aimed at increasing the supply of medical physicists.