In any of the healthcare fields continuing medical education is a must. Some people loathe it while others embrace it as a way of lifetime learning and keeping up with the latest advances in medicine. Regardless of your thoughts on the matter, they’re a requirement for many medical careers so it’s best to take a positive attitude towards them and try to learn as much as you can.
There are so many different types of careers in the medical profession that it’s beyond the scope of this page to address each one individually. Pick and choose the information that applies to you.
Ask Your Employer if You’re Up-to-Date
Most of the time your hospital or health care facility will let you know which courses you must take in order to stay current. The Accreditation Council will notify these health care institutions to let them know of new requirements. At other times you’ll get notices from the American Medical Association or the Accreditation Review Committee. These may or may not be true CE courses, but could be promotional in nature and sponsored by pharmaceutical companies or something similar in nature. Industry sponsorship is under a lot of fire these days, but until it’s removed you still must follow along.
Verify Your Local Requirements
You’ll have to check locally for what your state requirements are, because CME requirements vary from state to state. Once you get a list of what is needed, be sure to go through it and sign up for the classes you need. This should be done quarterly so you don’t have to do it very often, and so you don’t get too far behind if you miss a class.
Continuing Medical Education- Get Registered
Usually your employer will help you make the arrangements for which classes to take and when to go. If you’re left on your own and have to choose a program, go with an accredited CME provider. Make sure that your time will count and that you won’t have to retake a course or find out that you wasted money in the wrong program. When you register, take the extra time to make sure that the person gets your name correct. If you’re applying online, double check for typos and verify that it’s got you down for the right time and place. A little extra time spent during this step will make the rest of the process go better.
If you want the continuing medical education credit, you’ve got to show up. It can be hard to juggle life and work responsibilities and do something out of the ordinary like go to a class instead of going to work. But you should treat this like work and not like it’s optional or a nuisance. Don’t show up late, and don’t leave early. Your requirements are measured in hours and you don’t want to lose the credits on a technicality. Some instructors and programs are very strict and will monitor your attendance to see if you fulfill your obligation.
Get Your Proof
Many times you’ll be able to get a certificate of some sort when you attend the class. If it’s not available make sure someone there records that you attended so that there isn’t any possibility of a mix-up later. Avoid any chance of trouble later by making sure you leave with some sort of receipt showing you were there. Many times this isn’t a problem because you’ll be greeted at the door by the staff and you’ll have to check-in. But if there isn’t any check-in procedure it’s up to you to ask about it.
Be Alert for More Classes
You don’t have to be paranoid about it, just keep an ear open for updated accreditation information around the office. Most times the information will find you, but it is up to you to keep your own license current. Don’t disregard the notices you receive. It’s best to add it to your calendar right away to make sure it doesn’t slip through the cracks.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if I don’t take CME classes?
The world won’t stop turning if you miss a CME course, but the repercussions could start piling up, especially if you habitually avoid them. Eventually, you’ll be behind your peers, you’ll risk losing your license, and your techniques will become outdated, antiquated, and obsolete. It’s far easier to just meet all of the requirements, and also to seek out your own knowledge and information as you go along as to not get stagnant in your abilities.
How did CME courses come to be?
This is no new development created by the education industry to get more money out of you. Since the beginning of medical practice physicians have been meeting with each other periodically to discuss new techniques and compare notes. The system is just more refined now, and with advancements in information sharing only the best and greatest new info should be included in these classes.
CME Classes Are Your Duty
Allied Health Professionals are all to familiar with taking continuing medical education courses. It just comes with the territory of being in the health profession. As health experts it’s your responsibility to always know the latest developments and have your finger on the pulse of the most current information. It could mean all the difference to your current and future patients and it’s your responsibility to always do you best work.
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