Saturday, February 4, 2012

What is Continuing Education?

No, not a jeopardy answer in the form of a question. :-)

I've seen a fair number of different people say different things about continuing education in EMS.

Some think there should be more education required.
Some think that people are being required to do too much.

I can't help but wonder if the difference has to do with what, exactly, is being considered as continuing education."

I have seen some classes and training that basically phone it in, go through the motions, and end up with a signature someplace claiming that some amount of time has been spent. There has been precious little actual learning going on. Learning requires a change in behavior. No change, no learning. Someone can talk at you until they are blue in the face, but if you don't make any changes in what you do, or at least in what you know and/or think about the subject, you didn't learn anything.

I have seen some classes that were dynamic, exciting,  and interesting. People talked about it long after it had taken place. They made immediate changes in SOPs or in their knowledge of the material, and wanted to learn more.

If what people are seeing as "continuing ed" resembles the first description, then no wonder some think there should be less of it. I think there should be NONE of it. I don't need to spend a single second anywhere that I learn nothing, where it's boring, outdated, and useless. I don't need to bullshit through anything to get a signature on a piece of paper just to make some paper-pusher happy. That has nothing whatsoever to do with improving patient care, nothing to do with increasing an EMTs skills. It is worse than a waste of time, because it makes people resistant to continuing their training and education.

If what people see as "continuing ed" is the second example, I'd expect those people to think we need more of it. Lots more. And, whether it's required or not, we'd see people taking advantage of it. This has everything to do with improving patient care and EMT skills.

The short version of this post is this:
If you want people to do more continuing ed, it has to be GOOD, it has to be real.
If it isn't, it will be very difficult to get compliance. No one wants to waste their time.

Anyone who prefers the lame, bullshit, get credit for doing nothing, version should get out of EMS. As should anyone offering it.

Yeah, I've had a button or two pushed lately.

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