continuing medical education

How to Continue Your Education in the Medical Field

Everything You Need to Know About Continuing your Medical Education

As a husband to a medical doctor and family member to a few nurses, I have heard extensively, over the years, about the need for continuing an individual’s medical education. Just like with many careers that demand continuing professional development, those in the medical field must continue adding to their knowledge; otherwise, they risk facing suspension, receiving a fine, or even losing their medical license. And just like with professional development in other fields, CME can be expensive if you don’t shop around.

What are CME Credits?

CME stands for continuing medical education. CME credits are needed to help those in the medical field maintain and develop their skills and knowledge to better serve their patients and the public in general. A certain number of credits are needed in a definitive time; otherwise, the individual can fall into the dangerous area of facing the consequences listed above.

How often a person needs CME credits depends on the state they live in. It can range anywhere from one year to four years. Furthermore, the amount of CME credits needed varies greatly. When speaking of something as important as the medical field, one would think that the number of CME credits needed would be universal across the board, but this is not the case. Some states only require 12 credits per year, and others have a mandatory 50 credits needed per year.

How Do You Earn CME Credits?

There are a number of ways to earn CME credits. However, keep in mind that they can be quite expensive. Luckily, for those in the medical field gainfully employed, employers will usually provide their employees a budget every year towards CME credits. Plus, you may find some free options that will provide CME credits if you work hard enough.

  • CME credits can be earned at live events offered by medical professionals that are highly respected in their field. These live events can cover just about any topic under the sun related to the medical field. It could be related to general medicine, emergency procedures, women’s health issues, internal medicine, primary care, and more.

As most people in the medical field have a tight schedule to keep between work and family, it can be difficult for them to get away from CME live events. Thankfully, there are other options to consider.

  • There are countless classes online that will provide CME credits. For instance, the Mayo Clinic offers its School of Continuous Professional Development that has online self-paced courses for physicians and nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physician assistants, and many other healthcare professionals in the medical field. And with the number of courses offered, a person is bound to find quite a few that relate to their study and interests.
  • If reading literature about the medical field of choice is more up your alley, you are in luck. A person can also gain CME credits by reading approved articles and filling out the proper paperwork. It is a rather inexpensive way to gain CME credits as well.
  • Imagine earning CME credits while listening to an audio program on the way to work; this is entirely possible! There are libraries of lectures from experts in the medical field that will make attaining CME credits easy. With the number of podcasts available today, a person can quickly earn their needed CME credits without breaking a sweat.
  • With streaming technology at an all-time high, is it any wonder you can earn CME credits from watching a video? Even better, some people learn better from a video, so this could be right up their alley. Two of the top providers of online video CME are The Doctor’s Channel and The Osler Institute. However, you can find many more options through a few quick searches online. It may not be quite the same as streaming Netflix, but you are earning credits at the same time.

Choose CME Options Carefully

Some question the validity of some CME options because they can be bought and paid for by drug companies and device manufacturers. At times, these businesses can hire experts to promote the products they offer to the masses under the guise of CME. Since time is valuable, be certain you are not falling prey to infomercials in place of qualified presentations. Choose the subject material you are truly interested in learning about, and you'll find the perfect way of continuing medical education.