There is no escaping the time commitment and expense of Continuing Medical Education. It seems that states are constantly adding new requirements for opioid prescribing, ethics, pain management, and more.
Mandatory CME easily reaches 50 hours per year for many physicians. Add in the maintenance of certification requirements for some specialties and the time commitment, and it can turn into a part-time job just keeping up.
That said, why not make it fun? Most, if not all, CME could turn into a vacation experience if you chose wisely.
Location, Location, Location
Not to pick on a particular state, but does traveling to rural nowhere to pick up some CME credits sound like a good time? Would your significant other or teenage kids enjoy a weekend running through the corn? Not likely.
If you are investing time and travel, it is relatively easy to find a location that ticks the boxes for the entire family. You get an education and stay current on the best practices for your specialty, and your family will thank you for a great trip.
Make It Personal
Maybe you are up for a personal challenge. Consider a CME course and location that provide an opportunity to stretch yourself. Perhaps you want to rock climb, kiteboard, zip-line through the rainforest, or crew through class V rapids. There is not a requirement to be bored just because you are picking up a handful of CME credits.
Speaking from experience, the chance to combine learning with an exploration of a new culture is at the top of my list. Quality educational opportunities are available in remote locations. Imagine a morning of knowledge followed by exotic food, breathtaking surroundings, and adventure.
There are creative ways to maximize the credits you receive and stretch the dollar. On occasion, some conference organizers send out educational materials before the conference, allowing participants to consume materials and complete quizzes before the conference begins. This task is often with additional CME credit attached. Travel time is a perfect chance to grab a few more credits learning something useful.
Recharge Your Batteries
There is no minimum time required for an event to be considered educational. A career in medicine is demanding and stressful. Attending a CME is a way to rekindle enthusiasm but also to relax and take a break from thinking about patient care or practice issues.
There is nothing wrong with attending a one-day meeting and then playing in the ocean surf and relaxing on the beach for the rest of the week. I’ve known a few creative colleagues who completed an online CME course while on a long international flight and used the rest of their “CME” trip to unwind and recharge.
Even though state medical boards and board certification requirements dictate what you must do to keep your license in good standing, nothing is preventing you from having a bit of fun along the way.