When health care providers are finished with school, their training is far from over. In addition to residencies, fellowships and other advanced training, physicians must take a certain number of continuing medical education (CME) credits each year. Nurses, pharmacists and other clinicians must also maintain continuing education (CE) credits in their respective fields.
"Health care providers, whether they are physicians, nurses, pharmacists, radiologic technicians or in another clinical field, have to take continuing education courses to maintain their state licenses and to maintain any specialty certifications that they may have," said Robin Rector, MA, director of the CAMC Institute education department.
In 2011, the CAMC Health Education and Research Institute achieved the highest approval status from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), which is Accreditation with Commendation. Only 17 percent of providers surveyed under new criteria have received this distinction.
CAMC Institute joins WVU and Marshall University as the only three nationally accredited CME providers in West Virginia. Additionally, the CAMC Institute works with the West Virginia State Medical Association to oversee the state-level CMEs provided by other hospitals in West Virginia.
In 2010, the CAMC Institute issued 65,768 continuing education credits and had 26,697 education program participants. Providers can earn credits in several ways: conferences, outreach programs, onsite classes, life support training and other programs offered through activities at the CAMC Simulation Center.
"The CAMC Institute education division not only offers courses for health care professionals employed or credentialed at CAMC, but to community members as well. It's an important service," Rector said.
More than 3,000 people participated in life support training programs in 2010. The center is housed at the CAMC Simulation Center at General Hospital. The Simulation Center has high-tech mannequins that can be programmed to simulate a variety of real patient scenarios. Participants can practice their skills before moving to patient care situations, which enhances patient safety. The center conducted 451 programs last year for 7,393 participants.
"Whether providers earn credits through conferences, web-based programs or one of our life support training classes, continuing education helps them enhance their practice while improving the health of patients they serve," Rector said.