How I (Katie) Learned About CME

We’re joined again today by our CMEpalooza Spring intern, Katie, who brings her cheery, sunny personality back to the blog. Needless to say, you don’t get that from either of us, so enjoy the respite!

Hello CMEpalooza groupies — hope you are having a great day! I wanted to share with you what happened on my first day in CME and how I’ve learned the ins and outs of our little nook.

So one day while I was in a different sort of role at Memorial Sloan Kettering, I had just gotten back from going out to lunch (which I rarely do) and got a message that the vice president of human resources was looking for me.

Oh no! Did I do something wrong? Was I about to get fired for taking a 1-hour lunch? Stupid, stupid, stupid!!

So I enter her office and see that my manager is also sitting there… and now I’m really scared! Fortunately, they weren’t there to fire me, but rather to tell me that there was a department that needed some help and they both thought I would be the perfect person to assist them with a current project. I forget whether I said anything, but I guess I must have said, “OK,” because 30 minutes later, we were walking over for a 2 p.m. meeting.

I arrived and sat down with a room full of people I didn’t know throwing around a bunch of cancer terms I had never heard of, with one dizzying acronym after another. I wrote as many down as I could, planning to look things up later. At the end of the meeting, the woman sitting next to me asked nicely, “Please let me know if there is anything I can help with.” It’s one of those throwaway lines that you are supposed to say to people to be polite, right? I mean, I probably mean it, but Scott and Derek? Eh. (Note from Scott and Derek: She’s right. We don’t mean it.)

Anyway, instead of pretending I captured everything perfectly, I looked at her and asked, “WHAT DO ALL THESE LETTERS MEAN?” She kindly talked me through a few, but I was still left with a lot of research to do. The most important abbreviations that stood out for me, the ones I heard over and over, were  “ACCME” and “AMA PRA Category 1 Credits.” So I took to the ACCME and AMA websites and read through them multiple times.

That’s how I’ve primarily learned about CME – it’s been self-taught, on-the-fly education through reading, asking my peers (they should know by now not to say to me, “Please let me know if there is anything I can help with,” right?), and engaging with the CME community. I’ve also learned a lot from attending live meetings. My first was the annual ACCME meeting where I took the pre-conference session that discussed the basics of CME. I learned about the Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions, became a member, and have gone to their annual meeting for the last two years. I attend the local CME meeting for providers in the northeastern United States. I learn so much from attending these meetings, not just at the sessions, but also at the networking opportunities where I have the chance to discuss my day-to-day struggles and learn best practices.

I participated in my first CMEpalooza during the Spring of 2019. I love going to the Archive page and being able to view any one of the 100+ previous CMEpalooza sessions if I’m curious about a topic or need a fresh perspective on something. Where was Jake Powers when I started in CME?!

I’ve learned when I feel puzzled about something, I’m never alone, and that no one should be afraid to ask questions. So if you’re new in the CME community, don’t be afraid to speak up when you don’t understand something — we’ve all been there!

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