Article on CME and workplace learning

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This post courtesy of Anne Taylor-Vaisey: This article on workplace learning and CME was published in last Thursday‘s BMJ. It is part of a series entitled ABC of Health Informatics, which will be published as a book by Blackwell Publishing in Spring 2006.


Wyatt JC, Sullivan F. Keeping up: learning in the workplace. BMJ 2005; 331(7525):1129-1132.


Excerpt: The amount of biomedical knowledge doubles every 20 years, and new classes of drug (such as phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitors) become available when lectures at medical school are over. Therefore, a practice risks fossilising after doctors finish professional training. Many continuing medical education or continuing professional development activities help doctors carry on learning and improving their skills. These activities include courses, conferences, mailed educational materials, weekly grand rounds, journal clubs, and using internet sites. In many countries, evidence of this process is needed for doctors to continue to practice. Although these activities may increase knowledge, their impact on clinical practice is variable.


The aim of traditional medical education is to commit knowledge to memory and then use this knowledge in the workplace. The way knowledge is learnt influences its recall and application to work. One tactic to improve the process is to ensure that learning happens in the clinical workplace.


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