Staying On Top – Orthopedic Surgeons And Education

What puts the top orthopedic surgeons in that position? What makes the best the best? Certainly natural talent and hard work are important ingredients, as is a quality education. But does a degree from a top medical school really mean someone is the best? It guarantees a certain standard of training was completed… but is a C student from an Ivy League school really smarter than an A student at a state college? When you researching any kind of expert from an orthopedic surgeon to a plumber, you need to know more than where they did their professional training. You need to know about their attitude and their effort.

It is not easy for potential patients to learn what they need to know to make the best decision when choosing a doctor or surgeon. It is important to check with various professional associations and medical societies, but to really zero in, ask specifically about continuing medical education.

What Is Continuing Medical Education?

All medical professionals are required to take a minimum amount of continuing medical education. Science in general and medicine specifically are fields that see rapid and dramatic advances. Technology is creating new and safer ways of performing surgery with tiny cameras and robotic equipment so that patients can minimize the traditional risks of open surgery. The field of genetics is afire with new information. Someone who graduated from medical school 20 years ago probably has extensive experience, but the technology of surgery has evolved so much that this doctor should be using completely different techniques for many procedures. Continuing medical education is how medical professionals keep up the ongoing advances in their field. It is not the only way not all trainings are recognized by professional bodies and offer CME credit, and journal reading is an important way to monitor developments in medical science.

There is no real way to measure what an individual gets out of a particular CME course. One participant might be having an off day. Another might be called out of a lecture for an emergency phone call about a patient. While another might in the front row, eagerly taking extensive notes. All three will get the same credit for attending.Some doctors and surgeons take CME very seriously and attend more courses than required, while others take only the bare minimum. If you are debating between two surgeons who seem equally good, ask about their CME training. If one is particularly happy to share what he or she learned recently and how it applies to your situation that is a very good sign.

It is not always obvious who the top orthopedic surgeons are. Glossy advertising and a degree from a medical school everyone has heard of are not guarantees, and neither is merely being in good standing with a professional body. To find a surgeon who really has a passion for the field and a drive to make life better for patients, you’ll have to ask some questions about continuing medical education.

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