The majority of healthcare professionals are required to participate in continuing medical education (CME) or development courses to remained licensed, but these courses shouldn’t be considered boxes to check off along the way. No, regardless of specialization, these courses can help bridge gaps in the current education system and ensure that healthcare professionals are informed of the latest innovations and best practices. With this in mind, allied health professionals should consider the demands of their role when selecting CME courses to maximize the benefits of such programs.
Key Areas For CME
Historically, CME courses have focused on traditional learning, teaching practitioners new procedures, introducing new tools, and occasionally emphasizes issues of competence – both topics that fall about halfway up the medical education pyramid. But what about higher level learning? In recent years, CME has been evolving to cover areas like patient and community health and to address gaps in traditional medical education.
Community management of the opioid epidemic is a perfect example of how CME is helping doctors meet community health needs that aren’t typically emphasized in medical school. During medical school and residency, doctors typically receive little to no addiction medicine education; unlike other topics, it’s viewed as a specialized area of care, despite the significant need for addiction treatment at the primary care level. However, if a doctor wants to learn more about addiction management best practices, they can take a course certifying them to prescribe buprenorphine and simultaneously complete CME credits.
Choosing A CME Program
In addition to assessing specific practice gaps, another factor allied health professionals should consider when choosing a CME course is their preferred learning style. CME courses can be completed in a variety of formats, including in-person lectures, interactive case studies, and online courses. The buprenorphine prescribing course, for example, is an online education program that doctors and nurse practitioners can complete from anywhere. In other cases, doctors may attend CME courses as part of annual medical conferences.
Education As Leadership
Ultimately, participating in CME and developmental programs is a valuable way to demonstrate leadership in the workplace, no matter your level of seniority, because engagement demonstrates your commitment to growth. Additionally, these programs can help you establish a sub-specialty based on your interests and the needs of your practice. Many primary care practices see patients seeking nutritional advice, for example, but medical schools and nursing programs don’t commit much time to nutrition. By taking CME courses focused on nutrition, you can become your office’s go-to person for nutrition consultations. Early in your career, adding this type of specialization can be particularly advantageous and help you build your professional reputation.
While they may be, first and foremost, a requirement, CME and development courses for allied health professionals are the answer to healthcare’s constant evolution; standards are changing all the time. If you’re going to provide your patients with the best possible care, you need to be engaged and take courses that will facilitate your growth. Your patients are relying on you to know what’s best for them – but first, you need to catch up on the latest health management options.