It’s important to practice medicine with the understanding that it’s a journey. To be more specific it’s a never ending journey and it will outlive all of us. It’s impossible for anyone to know everything about medicine. First of all: there’s way too much to know. It’s nearly impossible to have every single medical textbook known by heart and available for immediate memory recall at any time. The best you can do is to go through the texts time and time again indefinitely and hope that some extra information sticks each time. The second reason you can’t acquire all the medical knowledge in the world is because the amount isn’t fixed.
It’s scary to think about but a doctor who went to medical school 30 years ago probably has very little use of the information he acquired while there. So much has been proven wrong, and therefore removed, and so much new information has been added. So a medical student who thinks that after they’re done with med school they’re set for life then that’s as wrong as they can be. Even after you’re done with your fellowship and you will no longer be supervised, your education still isn’t over. In order to keep working towards becoming the best doctor you can be you need to be up to the task of keeping up with your knowledge of medicine.
The most important way to do this is through CMEs or Continuous Medical Education. There are several ways to participate in CME and there are new courses and material everyday so you’ll never run out of CME activities to take part in. You need to make sure you’re a regular participator in CME activities and that you never slack off because your career will definitely be affected by this. Becoming a better doctor, finding a better job with better pay, and impressing your patients are all some of the major benefits of CMEs.
CME activities come in different shapes and forms. There are regular courses which you attend in person and there are regularly scheduled series which is basically an ongoing course with multiple sessions. Then there are internet activities such as an internet live course. An internet live course is one that you have to attend online at a certain time. It’s not like a video that you can watch whenever you want. Enduring material activity is like that in the sense that the material will always be there so you can access it whenever you’re free.
One of the best ways to participate in a CME activity is through a CME vacation such as a cruise. CME travel is becoming increasingly popular. As a doctor you don’t get enough time to relax especially if you’re working in a hospital rather than private practice. Through a CME cruise you get to learn and become a better doctor while having fun at the same time.
A lot of doctors suffer from burnout. This is the feeling that the job isn’t satisfying anymore and some doctors may even feel like patients are taking advantage of them. Burnout comes from all the added stress and long work hours of being a doctor so it’s very common in the medical profession. This is why doctors need to disconnect every once in a while. Taking a break can be good for a person’s mental health and morale which are all essential to being a good doctor. If you’re suffering from burnout and pushing through your patients can be affected negatively because you’re just not at your best as a physician.
The problem with disconnecting is that you may feel like you’re falling behind. This adds more stress and can stop someone from truly relaxing and having a good time so that they can come back fresher than before. So through attending CME cruises for instance you’re really doing both. You’re getting a refreshing break and at the same time you’re keeping yourself updated and learning new information and techniques.
Another perk of CME cruises is that you get to meet new people and make friends with colleagues. If you spend a couple of days on a cruise with a group of people then you’ll definitely end up getting close. This is especially true since you’re going to be with fellow doctors and probably even with colleagues from the same specialty so you already have lots of common interests. The only thing better than going on vacation is going on one with friends who share your interests.
Spending a few hours each day in a conference won’t take away from the fun. You still have the rest of the day to sit back and enjoy the view of the ocean and listen to music. Odds are you won’t be too bothered by the conference anyway because you signed up for something that interests you. It’s also nice feeling like a student again just sitting there receiving information with no lives at stake. Your only responsibility is to learn which is nothing compared to the responsibilities of being a doctor.
Dr. Gallbraith and Dr. Minuk from Oakville had this to say about a CME cruise "These CMEatSEA cruise/conferences are exceptional, and worth waiting for, as our last experience was seven years previous. They are so well put together, your staff are outstanding, the speakers are engaging clinicians, relevant topics, and the level of personal attention is not found anywhere else in one’s travels. We enjoyed wonderful company while seeing a unique perspective on classical sightseeing. This study/travel experience ranks with the best of the best, and should enjoy continued successes in future. Thank you again for a great sailing."
So now that you’re sold on the idea of disconnecting, why attend a CME cruise? Why not just go on a regular vacation? That’s because CME activities are important for your career. First of all they make you a better doctor. Like previously mentioned if you think you don’t need to keep learning and stay updated with all that’s new in the world of medicine then you’re in very big trouble. Medicine in 40 years may be completely different from medicine today. A doctor who isn’t up to date will look like a fool to his or her colleagues and even to patients.
Patients do their research before going to their doctor these days thanks to the internet. A patient with Rheumatoid Arthritis for instance will definitely read up on it before coming back for a follow up visit. How do you think they’ll feel when you seem lost when they talk about new and recent therapies? They’re going to go see another doctor because there’s nothing more valuable to a person than their health. If you don’t offer them at least knowledge about the latest research being done then how can they trust that you know what you’re doing? No one takes a gamble when it comes to their health.
CME conferences besides being a great way to make friends, they are also a great place to meet colleagues who may offer you a job. So you might want to look sharp at these conferences especially if it’s about learning a new technique and you show that you’re a fast learner and stand out.
There are lots of benefits of CME activities and lots of ways to learn and take part in them. You really don’t have an excuse especially with an opportunity to learn while on a beautiful vacation that lets you take a break from all the stress that comes with being a doctor. Even if you’re satisfied with your current job you should always seek more opportunities to become a better physician for your patients. It’s also important to be careful and know when to take a break so you don’t end up suffering from burnout. What better way to do both than through a CME cruise conference?