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The Value of Continuing Medical Education

Mar 25, 2019 by

Becoming a physician takes years of hard work. In addition to completing a 4-year undergraduate degree, you also have to go to medical school. The work doesn’t stop when you graduate. In fact, there’s a strong argument to be made for continuing your education your entire career.

Continuing medical education, or CME, is a requirement if you want to remain licensed. However, you should feel comfortable doing more than the minimum. Scientists are constantly learning about disease and the human body. New discoveries are made every year.

The cutting edge science that you mastered when graduated may become obsolete within a few years of starting practice. That’s okay! As a doctor, you want medicine to improve. CME is a benefit for doctors, employers, and patients.

Patients

It’s easy to see why patients benefit from CME. When you’re sick, you want to be treated by the most qualified person. That means someone who is knowledgeable about what’s going on in the field.

For example, let’s say that a patient has an autoimmune disease. The first line of treatment is corticosteroids like prednisone. However, there are many other medications tailored for specific manifestations of autoimmune disease. A rheumatologist or immunologist needs to be aware of these.

Going to the doctor is often a horrible experience. You don’t feel well, you’re worried about the future, and you’re not sure what’s going to happen next. Your doctor can make the experience better with their knowledge.

One of the worst sensations in the world is being sick and not receiving proper care. That’s why CME helps patients. Sick people can’t take care of themselves, they depend on their medical team to heal them. That can’t happen unless the team is very experienced.

Physicians

CME helps you as a physician as well. It allows you to be more confident and skillful in your career. That’s why many doctors choose to further their education beyond the requirements imposed by the state.

For instance, surgeons might be interested in attending a CRT meeting. According to its website, the CRT conference is “held each year in Washington, DC, is supported by MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute and serves as a forum for physician and health-care professional education about new cardiovascular technology and interventional procedures in the field. The meeting is actually several conferences at once…”

Medical advancements area common occurrence.

The benefits of CME for physicians go beyond pure medical knowledge. If there was a conference where you somehow knew for a fact no new information would be presented, but you also knew that hundreds or thousands of people in your field would be attending, it would make sense for you to go.

That’s because part of CME as a physician is networking. You get to meet the current thinkers in your field. You can easily make new professional contacts. This will help you throughout your career as you apply for new positions.

Employers

Employers benefit from CME so much that they often pay for it. Many doctors attend conferences on the hospital’s dime. There’s a lot of anger over the way hospitals manage their finances, but no one disputes the value of CME.

Employers want their staff to be cutting-edge. A hospital or medical clinic can attract more donor funds if it has superstar physicians. In addition, operating costs decrease staff members make fewer mistakes.

Paid conferences are a way to lure new talent to your hospital. Another strategy is to host your own CME event. This allows the hospital to aggressively recruit new talent. Part of running a successful hospital is having a great staff.

If you’re a physician, taking the appropriate CME courses should be your priority. It’s necessary if you want to remain licensed and current. It also satisfies your intellectual curiosity. People who aren’t interested in constantly learning and who hate the idea of change shouldn’t become physicians.

Different states have different CME requirements.

In many cases, CME courses are actually interesting. Remember, you’ll be learning information that’s pertinent to your field or specialty. If you love what you do, there’s a good chance you’ll love learning about it as well.

Modern medicine places a lot of demands on people working in the field. Ideally, physicians would spend most of their time with patients. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. Every doctor’s visit results in a mountain of paperwork.

CME might seem like another tedious requirement, but it’s not. It’s time spent away from patients but it’s for their own benefit.

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