Continuing Medical Education Conferences

Physicians and health care professionals attend continuing medical education conferences to keep up to date with the latest information and breakthroughs in the field of medicine. This field generally goes through changes very rapidly and keeping abreast of breakthroughs is very important. Seminars and conferences that help physicians with professional development needs are indispensable. Improving health care for patients is the ultimate goal of these educational opportunities. There is a conference available for every area of specialty. The best symposiums will be conducted by faculty members that understand how to relate to physicians and provide the information that is most needed. Another function of these conventions is to provide quality learning resources and information to health care professionals. Scholarly writings and information as well as scientific literature can be priceless to doctors and health care professionals who are striving to bring the latest breakthroughs and most current knowledge to use in their own practices. Attending continuing medical education conferences can simplify the process of keeping up with swiftly changing information and research. For most health care professionals, a commitment to lifelong learning is necessary if patients are to be served well and safely. The venues for these symposiums may vary widely, but a commitment to solid medical ethics and cutting edge information are always a central feature.

Time with family can be a rare commodity for many health care professionals. For this reason, many physicians and their families seek out continuing medical education conferences that also include recreational options for families. Some organizations offer doctors the opportunity to combine the concept of a conference with the possibility of a vacation cruise. Hosting seminars on luxury cruise ships can be an effective way to combine learning with family time. In spite of the festive atmosphere, these seminars offer accredited educational opportunities. Families can also extend vacation time by continuing on after the classes have been completed. Meetings and classes are held on board the cruise ship. Activities for other family members are also generally available. Many of these cruises may range in length from one to two weeks. Of course, there are other options that could include onboard seminars that last only three days or lengthy cruises that could extend to three months. Destinations can cover all of the traditional cruise ship territories and itineraries. From frozen Antarctica to the steamy African Serengeti, these cruise and conference combos have been known to span a wide variety of geographical interests. The faculties that are selected for these symposiums at sea rival any that may be featured in more traditional venues. The subjects and areas of specialty that are covered can range from pediatrics to immunology and anything in between. The combination of classes and recreation that may be offered at these continuing medical education conferences have made them very popular.

In addition to traditional and nontraditional continuing medical education conferences, there are special summer programs that are available to medical professionals. Generally held at colleges, universities, and medical schools, these programs can cover a wide variety of subjects from sports medicine to hypertension. One major attraction of these summer long seminars is the relaxed and informal atmosphere and extended schedule. Professionals who wish to dedicate their summer to education and learning can benefit from this approach. These programs also offer the health care specialist an opportunity to include families in much the same way that the cruise ship conferences do. Many summer symposiums will also offer family activities and even child care options for conference attendees. Schools that are located in scenic spots with many local recreational amenities are especially popular sites. In addition, many programs offer nationally known speakers and faculty members and extremely affordable lodging and meals for the entire family. Special off hour activities that entire families can enjoy may be available as well. Accredited classes and low student to faculty ratios can make these programs a good combination of education and recreation. The relaxed atmosphere can encourage beneficial exchanges of information among educated professionals. When the continuing medical education conferences have ended, it may be possible for family vacations in the local area to continue.

More traditional continuing medical education conferences are generally shorter and more concentrated in nature. Some of these conferences will also offer free symposiums to the general public, particularly if the subject matter is of wide interest. Topics such as aging, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease or other widely battled health concerns may be featured at these public meetings. Health care professionals who are not physicians can also benefit from these conferences and symposiums. Nurses, medical imaging specialists, physical and occupational therapists, and other specialists can usually find workshops, seminars and symposiums that are directed toward their area of specialty. Medical professionals who strive to increase knowledge and skills through various educational opportunities can more wisely serve their patients. The Bible talks about the pitfalls of boastful behavior. "Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips." (Proverbs 27:2)

The area of medical ethics may be the focal point of continuing medical education conferences. In addition to physicians, philosophers and theologians might participate in these symposiums. Some of the topics that might be discussed are alternative medicines and health care rationing. Controversial issues such as euthanasia or death with dignity could also be dealt with. Physician error is another topic that may be covered. While none of these ethical dilemmas will be solved to everyone's satisfaction during a single symposium, grappling with these concerns is very important in the eyes of many physicians and other medical professionals.

Online Continuing Medical Education

Online continuing medical education is the answer for busy medical professionals who must maintain their licensures and still have full access to their medical professions each work day. Balancing a professional life often tasked with running a business and having a good family life is becoming increasingly difficult for many healthcare professionals. With online continuing medical education or CME, those tasked with leading the healthcare industry can accomplish the balancing act more successfully. However, there appears to be a slow acceptance of Internet CME for many doctors. Less than twenty percent of physicians in the United States are using these resources to update their knowledge and practices.

There are about sixteen thousand online continuing medical education courses now offered to healthcare professionals. Over twenty-six thousand credit hours are linked to these courses of study, giving a wonderful opportunity to these professionals to receive needed credit for CME accreditation. The cost of receiving CME is about five to fifteen dollars per credit hour. As the demographics of computer literate medicine related professionals increases, CME can be expected to rise. Older doctors may not know where to find CME opportunities or may be averse to using the Internet. There are other locations where ongoing educational opportunities are available other than online.

Many CME opportunities are available through the health professional's local hospital network. In many instances, this personal interaction with colleagues may prove to be more stimulating than viewing a computer monitor for hours on end. Additionally, physicians have yearly specialty meetings that meet many of the requirements for CME credits and they find those meetings more interesting and helpful than online education opportunities. One of the downsides to online CME is the preference that physicians still have for lecture- type presentations. Possibly as a throwback to medical school days, the lecture format seems to hold more usefulness in terms of knowledge taken from a presentation than even colorful online charts, graphs, etc.

There are, of course, online continuing medical education courses for nurses who are registered, practical, and also nurse practitioners. These courses are specifically designed for the needs of the nurse and his or her responsibilities. While the physicians' CME courses are couched in more specific biological and physiological terms, the CME courses offered to nurses are often more patient care related. Courses can include older adults and their care, complications of pregnancy, infection control, pain and its management, reducing medical errors and many more generalized courses. Physicians and nurses are not the only people who can benefit from online education courses. The list is extensive to include radiologic technologists, sonographers, those who specialize in taking EEGs, EKGs and other types of electrical diagnostic tests. Then there are dentists, chiropractors, optometrists, physical therapists and more! Each individual profession carries with it specialized rules and regulations as to what courses qualify for continuing medical education credits to stay certified, and each state has its own regulations as well.

A great way to discover the latest opportunities for online continuing medical education courses is to check each profession's local chapter website or call the national organization representing each profession. These organizations are at the forefront of culling educational, clinical and various other establishments for courses and classroom tools for those seeking to stay credentialed or licensed. There will be courses in various formats to suit almost anyone's schedule. For example, most licensed health care professionals are too busy to attend classes during the day or at night. In that case, there are learning modules available on CD in almost any health care subject that is a learn-as-you-go type of course. Studying can be done when there is time and wherever the schedule permits if a person has a personal laptop computer or has some extra time at lunch at the office. "Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it" (Proverbs 3:37 KJV).

Not only is online continuing medical education available in individualized formats, but there are online organizations out there that provide online education courses for entire organizations, or for several people within an organization. Some websites offer memberships to take advantage of bulk training at a discount, and so that all training tools are available at one site. No need to continuously search the internet looking for just the right course material. Everything can be at your fingertips utilizing one site. All certificates can be printed immediately after passing the course so there is no waiting around. Everyone likes to have immediate results! Also, if someone is not entirely sure the course selected is the correct one, there are courses available as "test runs" in order to allow the individual to try out the material before purchasing. In addition, most course offerings are written by medical professionals who are actively working, are on the cutting edge of research and by those who are educators. All have the desire to find new ways of presenting material in an engaging, interactive format that will capture the student's attention and keep it.

Most of the big name or Ivy League schools provide very high quality online continuing medical education courses, as well as courses on-site for those alumni seeking out online continuing medical education from their alma maters. This avenue will be a safe bet for alumni seeking out courses appropriate for their profession and by educators they know and with whom they are familiar. Should the student be someone who did not graduate from an Ivy League school, these options are still available and will look good on the curriculum vita when applying for positions elsewhere.

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