Wednesday, May 24, 2006

For years and years I lived with part of my mind keeping track of my CME credits. These Continuing Medical Education credits had to be accumulated in order to renew my license to practice medicine. It was supposed to be a mechanism to at least attempt to keep doctors abreast of medical developements. The problem was that providing educational opportunities became a huge industry with classes offered in all the garden spots of the world. It was not unusual to see, for instance, a psychiatrist at an OB-GYN meeting because he wanted to go to where the meetings were being held and he needed the credits. But it wasn't always like that in medicine.
It used to be that the Doctors' lounge at any hospital was a magical, pain-free site of education. There, colleagues would gather to chat and share war stories; and, in the process, a lot of teaching went on. There were interesting cases shared and "curb side" consultations exchanged. It made us all better doctors. It drew us closer together as professional colleagues.
This all came back to me this morning when I met JB and Nydia (below) at our favorite java joint for some morning coffee.

As we sat and talked, things felt oddly familar. It was, I realized, like being back in the Doctors' Lounge again. I was with respected colleagues (Nydia took instructor training together, and John was one of our teachers), we were keeping up with things, and we were heavy into CKE...Continuing Kayak Education, talking about clinics and symposiums and what we needed to work on. And, as I thought about it, it was usually like that when kayakers got together, at least the serious ones.

I realized that we were always there to help one another, whether it be with a curb side consult or a helping hand onto an icy shore. I recalled times paddling or talking with Sherri, Bob, Gary and Joel and how often the social talk turned to technique or seminars or practice opportunities.

Although there is no formal CKE Credits obligation, we all still try to get to Carnigie Hall (practice, practice, practice), even seeking out pools in winter in which to work on skills (your's truly sculling my Romany).

Most of you know the old saying that says Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.

The idea is, then, to have those experiences in an intelligent, safe way and to continue to strive to be better and safer at what we do.

Some folks will always be happy to paddle inland lakes and slow rivers and, when the conditions are just right, the bigger waters. That's fine. That's good judgment. Some of us, on the other hand, want to stretch, go out in the bigger stuff and even teach. To do so safely, we practice, get curb side consults and critque one another. We are the ones who show up anytime there is a learning oppportunity, and we are the ones who show up to give back when there is a need for volenteers.

It feels good to be a professional again.



JohnB said...

Great analogy Dick—Bella’s is the kayaker’s lounge!

While the ACA and BCU don’t call them CKEU’s (continuing kayak education units), they have implemented a similar system by requiring attendance at an instructor’s update, teaching a certain number of classes over a given period of time, assisting with an IDW/ICE, etc. as requirements to maintain one’s credentials for instructing.

The learning only stops when we pass on to that great sea in the sky—and I don’t really know if it stops then. Hmmm . . . hope that I don’t find out soon though! But, while present in the “here-and-now”, I continue to learn every time I paddle my boat, every time I sit down for a consult at Bella’s, every time I read the emails from others about sea kayaking, and when I read the blogs from those who take the time to share their thoughts with the rest of us, prodding us to examine our thoughts, and think more deeply.

Thank You!!!

Silbs said...

As always, John, wise words. Thank you.