In its effort to ensure that the public receives the highest quality medical care, Board Regulation 17 describes what physicians must do to obtain continuing medical education. All physicians who treat patients, actively working or retired, in a clinic or hospital, on a mission trip or at home, in his or her neighborhood, must obtain 20 hours of CME yearly, with 50% being in the physician’s primary area of (current) practice.
The obligation to obtain CME is quite clear, and its necessity is not a recent development. In the Hippocratic oath, we swear to do our best by our patients, and to teach the art to our children “by the set rules, lectures, and every other mode of instruction…” It is not possible to live up to this oath without being as up to date as possible. In “Medical Ethics: A Guide to Professional Conduct” published in 1907, Dr. Robert Saundby of the Royal College of London says, “it is the duty of every medical practitioner, while in practice, to keep up his knowledge by reading and study, so far as his time will allow.” This he may very well do by reading a weekly medical paper, and by buying from time to time, good works of reference which should be consulted when unfamiliar cases come under his notice. Medical newspapers are now so good and so cheap that they and the information they furnish so abundantly come easily to all desiring them; it is only the will that is wanting to utilize ready means. Some may plead want of leisure, and doubtless few men have their time so broken in upon, even to the interruption of necessary meals and sleep, as the members of the medical profession; and yet most have time, if they cultivate the habit, to read the parts that interest them of one medical journal a week.
The State Medical Board, physicians who are your peers,
If you intend to “retire” from your office practice, and yet retain your active license for the purpose of treating friends and family occasionally, CME is required. Those friends and family deserve the most up to date physician possible.
History records three physicians attending General George Washington on his deathbed, having been summoned in December 1799 after the general developed respiratory distress and stridor. Several pints of blood were let, without improvement, along with the application of various poultices, standard
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