Every so often a book is published that provides a community of practice with a fresh perspective on current issues.  Editors William F. Rayburn, Mary G. Turco, and David A. Davis have put together what should become the de facto textbook for anyone studying to become an educator or trainer of medical practitioners.  Titled Continuing Professional Development in Medicine and Health Care, this edited collection reinforces the proposition that better education of health care professionals contributes to better patient outcomes.

(Full disclosure: Web Courseworks, the company Dr. Hicken and myself work for, has developed a learning management platform specific to delivering online professional development for associations, including the AAMC, medical and health professions societies, and CPD departments.  We look forward to benefiting from increased attention to continuing professional development in medicine and health care.)

Several of the book’s authors are associated with the Society of Academic CME (SACME) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).  Dr. Hicken and I interviewed one of the three editors who put this book together, Mary G. Turco. In our interview, Dr. Hicken and I prompted Dr. Turco to discuss editorial decisions and specific chapters she felt deserved special call out for the readers of this blog. The intention of this review is to describe a few chapters, reiterate the book’s importance to the community of practice, and provide our readers with one of the editor’s commentary.

Dr. Hicken and I asked Dr. Turco why their team of editors felt there was a need for this book.  To summarize: the editors felt it is important to gather a team of scholars who could articulate the meaningful trends and topics surrounding the training of health professionals.   This book was written for students of post-residency education, for leaders in health care professions, deans of medical schools, nursing, and pharmacy schools, and all people responsible for faculty development.

Post-residency education has traditionally been known as CME (continuing medical education), but leaders in the profession increasingly prefer continuing professional development (CPD) as a term that is not MD-specific, and therefore better fits the need to educate teams in the health workplace. Moreover, I would add, CME conjures up images of physicians attending lectures.  CPD communicates that today the education of clinicians is professionalized, evidence based, and a team sport.

This book will serve the medical education profession as both a healthcare leader’s bookshelf reference and as the quintessential textbook.  Mary Turco envisions instructors assigning chapters in a curriculum for training CPD professionals. The design of the book speaks to this. According to Turco, fellow editor Dr. Dave Davis has a talent for conceptualizing how to teach people. He wrote a real-life case study with a problem to solve to lead off each chapter. Each chapter ends with a review of future directions and includes a comprehensive reference section.

Our favorite chapters out of the twenty-six  include:

  • Chapter 1, an overview of current medical education theory by Karen V. Mann and Jocelyn Lockyer
  • Technology-heavy articles like Chapter 3 by Dimitrios Stefanidis and Ajit K. Sachdeva, which provides an excellent review of both high fidelity simulations and case based learning where instructors are able to view a learners decision making skills
  • Chapter 4, by Ginny Jacobs-Halsey and David A. Davis, which covers accessing online resources at the point of care

Throughout the collection, we were pleased to see the emphasis on using the internet to create blended learning environments.

Turco spoke to her favorites:

Turco herself contributed to Chapter 23, which focuses on educating future leaders. Titled “Learning to Lead in an Academic Health System,” the chapter provides an overview of the need for more emphasis on leadership training and finding leaders who have the right skills to lead. Turco comments:

Turco also gave a shout out to Paul Batalden’s forward, which speaks about the personal joy one attains from working in the health professions.

Most importantly, Turco feels that a number of people will benefit from this book, including patients.

If you are interested in learning more on educating medical personnel download our white paper Next-Generation CME and explore other new directions in CME research: point-of-care CME, social media, simulation, and spaced learning.