Danish Society for Medical Physics

Danish Society for Medical Physics is a scientific community related to the application of radiation in the diagnostic and therapeutic areas in health care. The society represents the group of hospital physicists in the hospital departments utilising ionising radiation, i.e. the areas of radiation therapy, x-ray diagnostics and nuclear medicine.

 

History

Danish Society for Medical Physics was founded in the autumn of 1981. In the years before some of the important international organisations for medical physics were founded, first The International Organisation for Medical Physics (IOMP) in 1963 and later The European Federation of Organisations for Medical Physics (EFOMP) in 1980. This increased the need of a more direct and formalised contact to these organisations, and as a consequence many countries (including Denmark) founded their own medical physics societies and enroled in the corporate work in EFOMP.

The aim for the Danish Society for Medical Physics is to represent the interests of the three main branches in medical physics in Denmark:

  • Radation therapy
  • Diagnostic radiology
  • Nuclear Medicine

Even though the branches are recognised as unique specialities with respect to educational requirements and professional responsabilities there are common interests which makes it logical to unite the eforts in one society.

 

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

  • Can I work as a medical physicist in Denmark?

If you have a background in physics or medical physics, the answer is most likely yes. The entrance to working as medical physicist in Denmark is to apply for a medical physicist position at a Danish hospital. If you do not have full qualifications yet, the relevant hospital departments are used to educating physicists (see next question). I.e., you can and should start working in the department before you achieve final approvement.

To be approved as medical physicist by the National Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen, SST), you are in general required to complete the education as Danish “hospitalsfysiker” (i.e., medical physicist). Your experience will be recognized in this process. Final recognition includes study of the Danish laws and regulation (the most important of which are available in English) and 18 months of clinical experience, of which at least 6 must be in Denmark. The expectations to your language skills are up to the individual department, but you will likely be expected to move towards learning Danish.

See below for more details on the contents of the medical physicist education in Denmark.

Both clinical job openings and research positions are often advertised on the website for the Danish Society for Medical Physics, even though the text will be in Danish.

The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a page about residence and work permits.

  • Can I study medical physics in Denmark?

Clinical medical physics is not a dedicated university education in Denmark. Some universities like Copenhagen, DTU, Aarhus and Aalborg have programmes with a large content of medical physics, but these programmes are not considered a complete clinical education. You could also want to consider our close neighbours in Sweden, who have university programmes in medical physics.

Most physicists working in Danish hospitals have completed an educational programme coordinated by the Danish Society for Medical Physics. This is a 3-year on-the-job combination of theory and practical training for one of the three branches: 1) Radiation therapy, 2) Diagnostic radiology, or 3) Nuclear medicine.

Entry into this program requires employment at a hospital department and is normally completed within the first years of employment. To enter the program, you thus need to apply for an open position as a medical phycisist. At least a MSc degree in physics is required. If you succeed in getting a position, you will have a supervisor assigned, and an individual study programme will be defined.

  • Can I apply for a research position in Denmark?

Danish PhD and postdoc positions are often filled by applicants from outside Denmark. If you are interested in a research position, we recommend directly contacting senior research professors at radiotherapy centres at the university hospitals in Denmark.

Both clinical job openings and research positions are often advertised on the website for the Danish Society for Medical Physics, even though the text will be in Danish.

 

CONTENTS OF THE MEDICAL PHYCISIST EDUCATION IN DENMARK

As described in the FAQ section, the Danish medical physicist education is based on employment at a hospital. The study program is based on a combination of theory and practice, and incorporates a series of modules.

The number of modules varies among radiation therapy (19 modules), diagnostic radiology (17 modules), and nuclear medicine (16 modules), but in all three branches the combined length of the modules sums to about 18 months. Combined with 18 months practice, this gives a total (planned) length of 3 years. The last module consists of performing a project within the branch of medical physic and writing a report in the form of a journal paper. Publication of the paper is not a requirement to finish the education.

The modules are defined by their contents, not by a specific set of courses, and they do not need to be finished in order. If you already have experience within a module subject, this experience can fulfil part or all of the module. Regarding practice, at least six months must be in Denmark to get Danish education approval. I.e. regardless of your background, you will not get the Danish education approval right away, but this should not stop you from trying to get employment at a Danish hospital willing to educate or guide you toward this approval.

The modules are evaluated by your supervisor at the hospital and approved by the Educational Board of the Danish Society for Medical Physics (DSMF). The finished, approved education as medical physicist within a given branch is registered at the Danish Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen, SST).

Titles of the modules are given below. Nine of the modules are common for all three branches.

Common modules:

  • Module 1: Radiation physics
  • Module 2: Dosimetry
  • Module 3: Anatomy and physiology
  • Module 4: Radiation biology and radiation protection
  • Module 5: Imaging acquisition and imaging diagnostics
  • Module 6: Quality assurance
  • Module 7: Laws and regulations (*)
  • Module 8: Teaching and scientific methods
  • Module 9: Communication at the hospital

(*) The Danish laws and regulations are in Danish, but solutions can be found if this is a problem. For a start, several of the major documents can be downloaded in English translations from https://www.sst.dk/da/Opgaver/Straalebeskyttelse/Tilsyn-og-lovgivning

Modules specific for the radiation therapy branch:

  • Module 10: Advanced radiation physics
  • Module 11: Advanced dosimetry
  • Module 12: Advanced radiation biology and radiation protection
  • Module 13: Introduction to oncology
  • Module 14: Nuclear medicine
  • Module 15: Facilities, apparatus, and treatment using photon/electron radiation
  • Module 16: Dose planning of external radiation therapy
  • Module 17: Brachytherapy
  • Module 18: Facilities, apparatus, and treatment using particle radiation
  • Module 19: Project module

Modules specific for the diagnostic radiology branch:

  • Module 10: X-ray technology I
  • Module 11: X-ray technology II
  • Module 12: X-ray technology III
  • Module 13: Image quality
  • Module 14: Other imaging diagnostics equipment
  • Module 15: Quality assurance systems
  • Module 16: Dose measurements and radiation protection
  • Module 17: Project module

Modules specific for the nuclear medicine branch:

  • Module 10: Internal dosimetry
  • Module 11: Production of radioactive pharmaceuticals
  • Module 12: Apparatus theory
  • Module 13: Biokinetics
  • Module 14: Processing of image data
  • Module 15: Clinical issues
  • Module 16: Project module

 

Contact

The society can be contacted using the email address bestyrelse@dsmf.org.