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How to Turn CME Requirements into Vacation Fun

Making CME Fun for Everyone

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.

Expanded Horizons

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.

Maximizing Time

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.

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About Mitchel Schwindt, MD

Dr. Mitchel Schwindt is a board-certified emergency medicine physician who practices in a variety of clinical settings. He completed his residency at Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As part of Michigan State University, Butterworth was renamed Spectrum Health, and is one of the busiest level 1 emergency and trauma centers in the United States. He served as chief resident his final year. While there he was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha, a prestigious medical honor society. He also devoted a significant amount of time working as a flight physician (helicopter) for an aeromedical company.

Dr. Schwindt has served on many committees and steering groups related to health care, quality and process improvement and was a former trauma program medical director. He serves as a volunteer physician for local sporting and martial arts events. He is a consultant and medical advisor to several dental groups and has developed protocols and policies related to medical issues in the dental practice.

Wellness and nutrition are a passionate interest for Dr. Schwindt. He writes extensively on the subject and has published several related books. He is a member of the A4M – The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and is currently pursing a functional and sports medicine fellowship.

In his free time, he enjoys competing in triathlons, skiing, water sports, time with family, foreign travel and pursuing entrepreneurial activities.