Health Professionals

Medicine Marches Forward: Continuing Education for Health Professionals

Education never truly stops. This goes double for professionals, such as architects, lawyers, and teachers. Medical professionals, such as general practitioners and neurologists are also required to continue their education to stay in their practice.

Continuing education is more than a requirement for keeping a license. It’s also a way to:

Best Practices and Improvement of Patient Outcomes

Continuing medical education (CME) for gynecologists mean more than reviewing the uses of reusable bipolar forceps. Theoretical knowledge is important for gynecologists and other professionals. Unless groundbreaking work reveals new information about the basics, courses for those topics are there to refresh a person’s memory.

What most professionals are catching up with when it comes to continuing education are medical advances. Keeping up with the latest developments in medicine spreads the best practices available in a profession. Patient outcomes are improved because of the spread of this research.

A concrete example of the usefulness of CME was its role in reducing fatalities from coronary heart disease. Fatalities from this condition had been reduced by 40 percent from 2000 to 2019, thanks to new advances communicated to health professionals through CME.

Advancing Careers

CME will help medical professionals hold on to their employment and license to practice. Continuing education will also help them advance their careers. Health practitioners who are on the lower end of the totem pole can back up their good work ethic with advanced knowledge of their fields.

Medical professionals in fields that do not require licenses can also get a leg up toward other professions through CME. Medical clerks and assistants can take the next step by earning their credits toward nursing or dentistry while continuing their hands-on work. CME uses evidence-based knowledge, ensuring that health professionals are equipped with a set of skills tuned to the needs of their patients.

How Can Professionals Continue Their Education?

med school students

Medical professionals can choose distance, online, and on-site education for their CME. Higher education options include graduate courses in universities near their site of work—or the site they work in if they work in university hospitals. CME can be paired with other degrees that can expand a professional’s range of specialties.

Online and distance learning resources are available for time-starved professionals. Each option has specific courses for different professionals, such as nurses and general practitioners. Research and fellowship opportunities are also available for health practitioners who wish to carry out studies related to their field.

Conferences and meetings are also forms of CME. Advancements are shared in forums where practitioners can confer with one another following presentations to further theories and treatments. Partnerships, grants, and inter-hospital, laboratory, and collegiate studies can be arranged through large gatherings like this.

Regardless of their method, medical professionals who keep up with their education have markedly improved performance. CME that is highly interactive has a positive correlation with physician performance and patient outcomes. Interactive CME means a longer course duration, multiple methods and exposures, and focus on outcomes deemed important by physicians. The system of conducting CMEs is also constantly evolving to incorporate the social, political, and organizational factors that impact the health outcomes of patients.

Aside from losing a few hours a week, CME has no real disadvantage for patients and physicians. Continuing education is a practice that will continue as long as there is a need for medical professionals and better ways to treat patients.