Starting a career in the health care industry requires several years of education.
That learning doesn’t cease once a license and/or board certification is obtained.
In fact, in the medical field, education is a constant and ongoing thing.
This process is known in the industry as continued medical education (CME) or continuing education unit (CEU) and it’s something required for almost every role in the health care sector.
CME is integral to a medical professional’s success.
It enables health care providers to learn new ways to improve and enhance the care they deliver to patients.
Continuing education also helps those in the industry more effectively manage their careers in the ever-changing landscape of medicine.
What’s required for CME will vary across the many different roles and disciplines.
Across the board, however, continuing medical education allows practitioners to:
• Meet licensing/certification requirements
• Hone their skills to improve overall patient care
• Remain up-to-date on all the latest developments and changes within their specialty
• Discover and address the real-world challenges modern health care professionals face
• Grow professionally and work toward opportunities for career advancements
• Learn important team management skills
• Earn membership to certain professional organizations
Now that we’ve gotten the meaning and importance of CME out of the way, the next logical step is figuring out how to obtain these credits.
As mentioned, the actual nature and number of CEUs you need will depend on what your particular role or specialty happens to be.
Regardless, one thing that all continuing medical education has in common is that these credits must be obtained by a certain deadline that is specified by state. (See a list of all CME deadlines by state here.)
If you’re like so many in the hectic medical field, you may have let your required CME sit on the back burner a little too long and now you’re scrambling to figure out the best (i.e. fastest and easiest) way to earn the credits you need to stay compliant.
The good news is, we’ve done some of the leg work for you and compiled several different options from which to choose.
The better news is, most of these options are available right on the web, so you can earn the credits you need lickety split.
Here’s a little glimpse at what’s out there:
If we were to sit down and list every available online CEU option, we’d probably exhaust ourselves.
Thankfully, someone’s already done the hard work for us.
Check out The Annotated List of Online Continuing Medical Education, a site created by Bernard Sklar, which compiles a convenient list of over 300 CME websites complete with details on each of their offerings.
MyCME is another great resource.
Medical Certification Courses
Another great way to earn CME/CEU credits is to do so while also earning any required medical certifications you may have.
For instance, all of our online courses also carry with them a specified number of continuing education credits.
This is a particularly attractive option because it allows you to essentially kill two birds with one stone – obtain your required ACLS, BLS, PALS or CPR certification (or recertification) while also earning anywhere from four to six CEUs at the same time.
If reading a book or looking at text on a screen is enough to put you to sleep, a live (or even recorded) webinar might be a better choice.
The beauty of the internet is that medical professionals now have the option to attend lectures and earn continuing education credits right from the comfort of their own home.
If you’re not sure where to locate video content like this, a quick Google search containing the specialty you are looking for should help you find what you need.
For the medical professional who is especially busy, podcasts are another great option for earning continuing education units.
All you have to do is download the podcasts of your choice to your iPod or other device and listen in whenever you can, such as on the way to work or while you take a walk on your lunch break.
PlayerFM offers a compilation of the best CME podcasts that is updated on a regular basis.
Here’s their latest list.
Similar to webinars, though less interactive, CME videos can help bring dry subject matter to life and make earning your continuing education credits much more engaging.
The internet is chock full of CME video resources, including many options dedicated to specific specialties.
The Doctor’s Channel is a great place to start.
This site offers tons of great CME video series from which to choose, most of which are completely free of charge.
Continuing medical education?
Yes, there’s an app for that.
Actually, there are many.
Mobile apps make earning CME credits super easy and convenient, and there are plenty from which to choose.
Medscape, for instance, offers CEUs in more than 30 specialties and enables you to easily keep track of your credit progress.
Epocrates is another option that offers access to over 100 CME/CE activities right on your mobile device for a variety of specialties.
Sometimes it’s nice to actually interact with other humans.
Attending live events is another effective and enjoyable way to earn your required CEUs.
The Physicians Travel and Meeting Network website is a great resource for locating CME events.
Search for a conference, meetup or live lecture in your local area or expand your horizons and find options across the country.
Speaking of expanding one’s horizons, why not combine your continuing education requirements with some R&R on a CME cruise?
No – we are not making this up.
Continuing Education, Inc.’s University at Sea offers an extensive schedule of accredited CME cruise conferences.
It’s a great way for busy practitioners to obtain the educational course credits required to maintain their licensure, while at the same time enjoying a vacation without spending too much time away from work.
Continuing education is just part of life in the health care field.
Thankfully, your options for obtaining your required credits are many.
Hopefully the list above provides you with ample opportunities to do what you have to do without disrupting your life and/or your career in the process.