December 15, 2020

Continuing Your Education and Learning for A Lifetime

When we talk about a career in the field of medicine, continuing their learning throughout a lifetime becomes crucial for professionals. Students mention it in their interviews for medical school. It is also referenced on many occasions by teachers in medical school and is considered a crucial facet of their revalidation.

As per the norms of Good Medical Practice, staying up to date is essential and forms a significantly vital domain in the responsibility of doctors. Insightful Continuing Professional Development programs have proven their value in achieving and monitoring skill upgrades.

The General Medical Council places tremendous emphasis on CPD because of the learning it provides outside the purview of regular training leading to performance improvement. CPD learning activities in medicine can be personal, internal or external. The GMC mandates 10 percent of annual CPD activities to be personal.

For medical professionals, staying updated and personal studies are often associated with journals delivered in dorms, prolonged time spent in the medical school library and browsing through newsletters.

Combining these practices with other activities of day-to-day life is quite difficult. So, professionals need to find additional time for completing these tasks- which presents a fresh set of challenges because doctors have numerous responsibilities that require substantial amounts of time for completion.

Duties at home and the workplace, handling relationships, etc. mandate doctors to spend time. However, the time spent in commuting to and from work is often ignored when doctors and others attempt to manage time.

Unsurprisingly, for workers in the UK, the time spent commuting to workplaces is 18 hours more than it used to be about a decade ago. On average, workers spend around one hour traveling both ways, resulting in almost 5 hours spent on travel every week.

The travel time is largely unproductive. There is an obvious disparity between the attempts of workers to further their professional development and the time wasted in commuting. Thankfully, a solution for making this time more useful and productive has arrived- Podcasts.

In the past few years, the popularity of podcasts has continued to grow at exponential rates. It is estimated that almost 6.4 million adults in the UK listen to podcasts every week. Almost 25 percent of these adults listen to podcasts when they are traveling. Podcasts on education are more in demand compared to all other genres. Hence, medical professionals could also consider emulating this trend to make their travels informative and productive.

Generally, studying and learning require people to be immobile but podcasts get rid of this constraint. People can learn and grow while they are on the move during a largely unproductive period. The advent of technology also facilitates a hands-free approach which can be used when completing mundane tasks like driving, traveling or housework.

Doctors can listen to podcasts on medical education where the creators have summarised information from the latest research into easily understandable points. They can also opt for a series where specific topics are discussed every week to learn the etiology and the most effective methods to handle medical conditions. Some podcasts contain dialogue between specialists providing valuable insights on subjects in the field of medicine. Hence, podcasts can supplement CPD learning and the professional development of doctors in many ways.

It must be noted that all medical schools have well-defined systems for the completion of CPD activities. For instance, The Royal College of Anaesthetists mandates 10 percent of total CPD credits to come from personal studies. In this case, one hour spent on studies accounts for one credit. However, all learning activities must be well documented and recorded in CPD diaries. When you listen to podcasts, a reflective log containing relevant details about the content must be maintained for revalidation.


Humza Zahid

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