Stay competitive in the evolving healthcare environment
How many continuing education (CE) hours do you need to renew your license? Do you complete them early? Or do you try to bend space and time to get them done before tomorrow’s deadline? Unfortunately, many folks across a wide range of careers see mandatory CE as drudgery — an irritating box that needs to be checked to keep doing what you love.
But CE has a broader purpose. What’s in it for you isn’t just a checkbox on your renewal form. Good–quality CE affects both your personal and professional life and we have the receipts to prove it.
CE has been tied to stronger professional and social networks. The more you seize opportunities to meet new peers, the more likely you are to collect insights into your field, tune into news faster and build supportive relationships both personally and professionally. The connections you create in educational settings can translate into resources for collaboration and a better vision of where you fit in the broader healthcare environment.
The less change frightens you, the more successful your career will be. Continuing education, done right, exposes professionals to new ideas. When you practice acquiring and adapting to new information and using that knowledge in your personal and professional life, the less likely you’ll be blindsided by change. In a profession where research and technology are accelerating new ideas and approaches, the capacity to absorb that change can be the difference between failure and success.
In the rapidly evolving healthcare environment, if you want to stay competitive, you will need to stay on top of your clinical skills. You’ll need to keep up with new information and opportunities to avoid lagging behind your peers. Additionally, scope changes and transforming standards of care mean outdated practices run the risk of violating your state’s rules and regulations. CE keeps youin the know and positioned to compete.
According to the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners’ (NBCE) 2020 Practice Analysis, 64% of doctors of chiropractic work in a sole proprietor office. That’s a lot of opportunity for disconnect among the chiropractic community. In-person CE brings you together with folks who share your experiences and builds your sense of belonging. This benefit to social health actually helps you fight off disease and lower stress. More, as relationships are often a core element to chiropractic care, the communication skills you develop tangentially through CE can assist you with building and growing those relationships in positive ways.
5. Information management
Experts estimate that 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data are created online daily. That’s a lot of information to sift through. You need to be able to move past the noise to find what you’re looking for. You had this skill in college and, like any skill, you need to practice it to keep it sharp. Structured CE can be a refresher, not just in clinical skills, but in information management as well.
6. Critical thinking
Once you’ve sifted through the 2.5 quintillion bytes of data to find the material relevant to you, how do you know it’s any good? In this abundance of information and misinformation, it’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole of conflicting ideas and data. Quality CE helps you look past the obvious and, well, think critically about what others are saying. Thinking critically can keep your license in good standing, and more importantly, your patients in good health.
Like critical thinking and adaptability, problem–solving is a crucial skill for maintaining a healthy practice and a lower level of stress. CE often introduces you to new ways of thinking and different skill sets. This exposure can help you find creative solutions to the inevitable problems of practice. Learning new techniques, approaches and perspectives from CE, then incorporating them into your practice, can increase your problem-solving skills. Better skills translate into improved care and efficiency.
Lifelong learning has been connected to both brain health and life span. Numerous studies have shown education’s ability to stave off memory loss, dementia and general cognitive decline. But did you also know CE is linked to lower stress and longer life span? A paper published in the National Bureau of Economic Research by economists David Cutler and Adriana Lleras-Muney has found that one year of education can add as much as six months to your life.
It’s hard to be confident when you’re out of your depth. Continuing education raises your information baseline. With education-backed data, you can be more confident in your decisions on patient care, your ability to communicate with insurance carriers and even basic skills like organization and time management. As a practitioner and a boss, you need the confidence to lead your patients and staff in the healthiest, most effective direction.
Finally, once CE has helped you live longer, practice more wisely and handle change better, you’ll need something to do with all of your spare time. CE has you covered there, too. Reflection, or personal insight, is a must for a well-developed character. As CE surrounds you with different perspectives and new information, you will (hopefully) learn to see yourself through the eyes of your patients and peers. Thinking critically about what you see that way leads to self-improvement and further discovery. Further discovery makes you more interesting to others and, best of all, makes your life more interesting for you.
KELLY WEBB, MA, is responsible for coordinating the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards’ PACE program, streamlining continuing education oversight for educators and regulators. Visit pacex.fclb.org to search thousands of courses approved nationwide.