COMMENTARY

Medscape Continuing Education Lunches

Karen Albright, NP

Disclosures

December 07, 2007

Editor's Note: After we received this (unsolicited) letter to the editor, we thought it important to share this creative approach to continuing education with other readers. Thanks to the staff at Six Rivers Planned Parenthood for telling us about their "Medscape CE Lunches."

To the Editor,

I wanted to let you know that our clinicians love your Medscape CE/CME topics. We love them so much so that we have started a monthly Medscape CE Lunch!

Our employer, Six Rivers Planned Parenthood, in Eureka, California, offers reproductive healthcare to men and women. Our clinic has been open since 1976, and the staff is a mixture of RNs, NPs, and PAs. Some of our clinicians have been here for more than 20 years. We recently moved to a new, larger building, and with the depressed economy, we have had to stretch our resources, like many other healthcare providers. Continuing education funds are not available. We needed an alternative, cost-effective approach.

As the Lead Clinician, I had been using Medscape for my CEUs for about 1 year. Not everyone is as comfortable with a computer as I am, but I wanted the staff to see just how easy this is. In July 2007, I helped everyone create a user name and password and showed them how to log into Medscape. To make it fun for everyone, I printed out a very long list of Continuing Education from the CE index page on Medscape. Since we have PAs as well as nurses, we picked topics that offered both CE and CME. I passed the list around and everyone picked a topic. It did not have to be gynecology-related.

Staff at Six Rivers Planned Parenthood during a Medscape CE Lunch.

Depending on everyone's schedule, we usually have 3-6 providers at our monthly Medscape Lunch. As Lead Clinician and the computer techie of the group, I log into Medscape and pull up the topic of the month. We read through or listen to the audio/slide show for the hour. We have found that it is usually more interesting to have a topic with the audio/slides than just a text that I read aloud. Some of the topics we have reviewed together are:

Some of the topic information was usable immediately in the next clinic. For example, the activity on treating tobacco use was timely, and we used the counseling resources right away. During another lunch where we discussed genital warts, we had our colposcopist join us, and she commented throughout, pointing out specific problem areas on the cervix and vulva. (The pictures were great!)

After lunch, we go back to our own workstations, log into Medscape separately, take the test, and print out the CE certificates. Medscape even keeps track of the topics we've completed! If staff members are still uneasy about the computer tasks, I help them with it. Eventually, I hope that they can access Medscape on their own to investigate other topics. We like this approach because it is easy, fun, and free! In this era of tight budgets, continuing education is sometimes the first thing cut. This way we can still interact with each other and earn our credits.

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