That time of year again
Up front, I would like to offer congratulations to all my colleagues who do not procrastinate. I know you are out there somewhere sitting smug, safe and secure on the 24th of December knowing that you, once again, have completed your recertification requirements prior to the end of the year deadline.
For the rest of you normal people like me who haven’t learned to “Eat that Frog” (link is to the Brian Tracy Audiobook) all my best to you and whatever you absolutely have to get accomplished by the end of the year.
No, I am not speaking about those resolutions that you lost sight of sometime in the last 12 months or the things you do every month (pay bills, hound spouse, drool over travel schedules). Rather I am looking at those once a year deadlines which can have consequences in excess of not filing your taxes on time. Birthdays’ and Anniversaries may fill this requirement for you – there are those which, if you miss, are going to wind up either never getting forgiveness or costing so much in terms of emotional heartache that making a mistake of any kind is simply not worth it.
For me, other than death and taxes – and since I am not planning on leaving this mortal coil any time soon that only leaves the taxes which I foist off on George if at all possible – I have the annual CME requirements from the American Board of Family Medicine.
Knowing myself quite well, when the opportunity to move from a seven year cycle to a ten year cycle came up ~2005/6 I jumped on the bandwagon. To really keep the pressure on myself, I prepaid for the ten years. Being the basically cheap soul that I am, this almost completely insured that I didn’t quit somewhere along the line since you don’t get refunds. Money spent? Need to get my value back out of it! Each year, in addition to regular CME, I have to complete an on-line learning module by the 31st.
Now, I have a couple of good friends doing full time clinical practice. They sail through the modules, using them as review for the types of things they are seeing in daily practice. No muss, no sweat, minimal crying and pain. Me? I have been doing primarily Occ Health/Public Health/Travel Med for … let us say ….. 20 years or more? I know my limits in family medicine. Being quite computer literate, I have no problems looking things up as I go, asking for assistance, finding answers. I routinely conduct various on-line searches. I have been doing this since PUBMED first went on-line. Over the years, I have expanded the tools which I use as other databases, searches and methods have become available.
For heaven’s sake, I have an MPH, epidemiology, study design ,and several stats courses under my belt. I know how to evaluate research, studies and be objective. The idea of evidence based medicine being problem-based, learning and life long isn’t an issue.
The process involves:
♦ Converting information needs into focused questions.
♦ Efficiently tracking down the best evidence with which to answer the question.
♦ Critcally appraising the evidence for validity and clinical usefulness.
♦ Applying the results in clinical practice.
♦ Evaluating performance of the evidence in clinical application.
is very sensible and provides better results for both patient and practitioner than randomness, tossing darts at the wall or most empirical guess work.
So why can’t I wrap my head around the sentence structure and format that the ABFM wants me to use in its scenarios? It just shouldn’t be all that difficult. The concepts are there, PICO (Patient/problem, intervention, comparison, outcome) I get – it is just that my sentences don’t like up word perfect with theirs and I am sick of not being able to see the difference between what I just filled in the box and what they would like to see filled in the box.
I’ll let you know tomorrow if I survive this section. At least this is not the 31st so that means that I am not howling as late in the year as has happened in the past. I do have a couple of days ahead of me in which to complete it.
Argh – so far I am having by far more fun frogging an old project than studying!