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Most medical specialties require that practitioners obtain a certain number of continuing education units every year in order to maintain state licensure and board certifications. Health care professionals should embrace continuing education as an important aspect of ensuring quality care for their patients. Continuing education may involve attending seminars, self-study online courses, or reading journals such as the implant dentistry journal.
Rapid Changes in Knowledge
When Galileo studied physics and astronomy, complex calculations took days to perform. Printing books cost a lot of money. A letter took months to travel across oceans from one country to the other.
In modern times, computers have made calculations and information transmission much faster. Increasing computer chip speeds means that even music and large data files can be stored and transmitted across thousands of miles. A scientist could post laboratory data online to share with thousands of colleagues with a few clicks.
As a result of technology advancements, scientific knowledge has advanced quickly. The savvy clinician needs to learn which journals have the most impact and read the most impactful articles. There are too many articles for one person to read all of them. Meta-analysis review articles and citation counts can help point to the best articles to read. By reading research directly from the source, the clinician can evaluate the effectiveness of new treatment protocols independent of drug and equipment manufacturers.
Networking With Colleagues in the Field
Continuing education seminars offer opportunities to catch up with old school classmates and meet other colleagues in a discipline. Discussions of clinical cases and challenges yield a powerful sense of community among the practitioners of a health care discipline. The professional community over time establishes norms of clinical practice. Job advancement opportunities often depend on networking.
Health care professionals are advised to view continuing education requirements not just as a step to fulfill for licensure renewal but also as a core professional responsibility.