“THE PA BLUEPRINT”: A CAREER-CHANGER, COMING SOON

As the saying doesn’t go: “When life hands you a pandemic and leaves you with a lot of time on your hands without the ability to do much, connect with a former student and write a book to improve your profession.”

Well, I took that great advice that nobody has ever said, and ran with it, connecting with another PA-author, Jordan Fisher, whose previous work, “Physician Assistant Next Steps”, is an excellent resource for PA students about to graduate.

“The PA Blueprint: your guide to career advancement, getting rich, beating burnout and finding your dream job” is a resource for PAs and other medical professionals that can and should be used to get what you want and deserve out of your career. In the 100+ pages, packed with hundreds of hyperlinks, tips, hacks, anecdotes and action items, we cover the following:

  1. Compensation.
  2. Loan Repayment.
  3. Retirement Accounts (401k, 403b, etc.).
  4. CME.
  5. Burnout.
  6. Navigating Your Work Environment.

Jordan and I thought that these were the post pertinent topics to cover, and are dimensions that, when you get them right, lead to exceeding your goals and designing of the career path of your choice. I like to think of these career-facets as the foundation of your career, and also as having the potential to make you “pandemic-proof” in the future.

“The PA Blueprint” will be out next week, which I’m excited to announce. It will be available via ebook and PDF, given that the resources contained with it, such as the hyperlinks, do not lend themselves to a hard copy. Our website is www.thepablueprint.com, but is under construction still, with some last minute changes being made.

We are also booking presentations for PA programs across the country, establishing ourselves as a critical piece of the professional education necessary for new clinicians. If you’re interested in this for your PA program, let us know, as we are offering this for FREE still:
efficientclinician@gmail.com

If you’ve liked reading this blog so far, this has just been the beginning, where I’ve cut my teeth and also gained the momentum to tackle larger projects with even bigger impact. Cheers to my readers for their contributions so far, and I encourage you to come along with me for whatever comes next.

DISCLAIMERS: 1) The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer. 2) I don’t know what I don’t know, so feel free to message me if you don’t agree with something that you read.

KEYWORDS: #thePAblueprint # author #book #ebook #resource #compensation #loanrepayment #investing # retirementaccounts #CME #burnout #depression #medicine #physicianassistant #nursepractitioner #doctor #physician #barriers #wellness #efficiency #proficiency #control #worklifebalance #happinessatwork #carpediem #clinician #stress #covid #covid19 #pandemic #lifehacks #leverage #tools #charting #physician #MDM #worklife #worklifebalance

LEARN ‘N LEVERAGE: BURNOUT PART 6

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HOW CAN YOU TREAT BURNOUT?

Unfortunately, there is no “secret sauce” or “silver bullet” to treat burnout. Just as unfortunate, if you sit back, feeling like a victim of your circumstances, waiting for your employer to swoop in and save you from this epidemic, it’s going to be a rough and disappointing ride. If you have diagnosed yourself with burnout, then it is time for action.

First of all, you should also be filling out a PHQ-9 (free versions here or here) and pay attention to the recommendations in the scoring. Secondly, you need to take action on this issue, STAT, before you continue to spiral downwards.

PRO TIP: If you are depressed and/or burned out, and work within a larger healthcare organization, consider starting with a call to HR to get connected to your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) network. You can usually get FREE help this way

If you are scoring high on the PHQ-9 and not sure where to turn, start here or here.

Remember part of our definition of burnout included this: your batteries are drained and you are unable to recharge them fast enough to keep up with the demands on your energy (mental, physical and emotional). You need to get back to an energy homeostasis, by tipping the scales in a net positive direction. Here’s the best way to start: take a binary inventory of your personal and professional life, dividing everything you can think of under the following headings: DRAIN vs. RECHARGE. If an activity tends to “drain” your energy, then list it underneath DRAIN,” and if an activity tends to recharge your energy, then list it underneath “RECHARGE.” Be brutally honest here, as you only sabotage your healing process with anything but the truth. The table below is an example of how this exercise may look:

DRAINRECHARGE
Spending time on social mediaSpending time with friends/family
Work meetingsSleep
EMR documentationLifting weights
Being a weekend warriorTaking a walk
Alcohol (restless sleep)Meditation
Seeing difficult patientsReading for pleasure
Working with burned out colleaguesOutdoor recreation

If you are burned out, then your life is imbalanced and weighted too heavily by energy DRAINS. These activities need to be cut out, or at least scaled way back, as continuing them will impede your progress, as well as leaving you susceptible to burnout in the future. Between eliminating and scaling back these energy DRAINS, you should be able to find some additional time and energy to reallocate to those activities in your RECHARGE category. The more aggressive you are in your choices and actions, the faster you will dig out of the burnout state that you find yourself in.

SIDE NOTE:We know you inherently understand the basics of this energy concept, given that you are likely reading this Ebook on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Once these electronics are unplugged and put to work, the battery life starts to drain, and the rate at which this happens depends on the demand you are putting on it. At some point, your device will need to be plugged in to recharge, and you understand that it will recharge fastest if you eliminate or minimize the energy demands during that time (like turning the screen off). Now, think about how that analogy applies to your personal energy management.

You may be thinking “My life is too complicated, and these recommendations are overly simplified.”  Well, life is often complicated and complex, but that is usually a result of the decisions we make, both large and small, active and passive, conscious and subconscious, but you can simplify your life by making some intentional decisions. Do not forget that you are empowered to be in control of your life, including digging yourself out from burnout, and it all starts with the one simple step of making your “Drains vs. Recharge” list. Let us also not forget Occam’s Razor, the problem-solving principle that influences our medical decisions during every shift, which tells us that the simplest explanation is usually the right one.

DISCLAIMERS: 1) The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer. 2) I don’t know what I don’t know, so feel free to message me if you don’t agree with something that you read.

KEYWORDS: #thePAblueprint #burnout #depression #medicine #physicianassistant #nursepractitioner #doctor #physician #barriers #wellness #efficiency #proficiency #control #worklifebalance #happinessatwork #carpediem #clinician #stress #covid #covid19 #pandemic #lifehacks #leverage #tools #charting #physician #MDM #worklife #worklifebalance

LEARN ‘N LEVERAGE: BURNOUT PART 5

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HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE BURNED OUT?

Self-awareness is the best way to know if you are burned out, but you can also be deceived by the slow-burning nature of its effects.  In addition, it is easy to subjectively overstate your level of burnout, rendering self-reporting marginally reliable.  Sadly, some individuals will wear their burnout as a badge of honor, and look for validation like something out of the “misery loves company” playbook. (HINT: Resist the inclination to be that polarizing personality that creates a tense and negative working environment)

The best way to self-assess your level of burnout is to remove yourself from your circumstances, figuratively and literally, and then put your $116,773 education to work.  It’s simple: Employ your medical training as you would with any patient interaction: by collecting both subjective and objective information, and seeing if it supports or refutes the diagnosis of burnout.  You know how to do this.

(WARNING:  Medical professionals do not always make the best patients, and could very well play the “(emotional) pain out of proportion to exam” role.)

Subjectively, try to limit bias and run through an HPI on yourself to bring awareness to the history and symptoms of your condition.  Objectively, you can use one of the tools for burnout measurement, from a list of the most valid and reliable found HERE, or from a resource provided by the AAPA, found HERE.  

(PRO TIP:  The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) is the gold standard, but costs money to access, so grab a free tool that you like, as it is best to use it at regular intervals for trending…much like the PHQ-9 or GAD-7.)    

So, as we ask ourselves within our practices each and every day:  Does the subjective and objective information concur and make enough of a case to diagnose yourself with burnout?  If so, just accept it (remembering that approximately 50% of PAs will go through the same experience), without judgment, as the temporary state you are in.  If not, I encourage you to stay tuned, as my future posts may teach you something to help diagnose and treat a possible future episode of burnout.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCES:  In the spirit of Sesame Street’s theme of “Sharing is Caring”, I wanted to convey my experiences with burnout, and how I know when I reach that point:  In addition to the symptoms listed in the “WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF BURNOUT?” section, my experiences with burnout typically manifest as frustration and anger, with increased sighing and cursing (not directed at anyone, but more as WTF?, as small problems seem like an assault to my sanity).  Other signs and symptoms that have manifested are an increased sympathetic response (Pavlovian response to my setting), cerebral pulsations, ear ringing (tinnitus), slurring of words (dysarthria), debilitating brain fog, difficulty with word finding (anomia) and nearly uncontrollable urges to eat junk food and drink alcohol.  If I had three 12-hour shifts in a row, I could feel that by day 3, I was starting the day with my batteries significantly depleted, which made the threat of missing that atypical MI or other subtle finding seem VERY REAL and VERY SCARY.  It also would sometimes take days to recover, and I would be physically and mentally exhausted, and the bipolar nature of that cycle felt punishing.  I now work in an environment with less stress and more predictability, and rarely feel such burnout symptoms.  

In others, I’ve seen extreme versions of burnout manifest as yelling at cars filled with patients that are about to check in right before closing, blowout arguments with other staff, crying, providers leaving shifts early, along with sarcastic and habitual responses of “Living the Dream” when asked how they are.  If some of these examples sound familiar, then you just might be burned out now, and it is time for action.

DISCLAIMERS: 1) The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer. 2) I don’t know what I don’t know, so feel free to message me if you don’t agree with something that you read.

KEYWORDS: #burnout #depression #medicine #physicianassistant #nursepractitioner #doctor #physician #barriers #wellness #efficiency #proficiency #control #worklifebalance #happinessatwork #carpediem #clinician #stress #covid #covid19 #pandemic #lifehacks #leverage #tools #charting #physician #MDM #worklife #worklifebalance

LEARN ‘N LEVERAGE: BURNOUT PART 4

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WHAT CAUSES BURNOUT?

Often overlooked, the mental conditioning from our “mini-medical school” training as PAs acts as a primer for future burnout.  Especially during our clinical rotations, we witness countless medical professionals who are burned out, and their work ethic and traits are silently absorbed by us impressionable PA students.  Although his work is primarily with physicians, Dr. Dike Drummond from www.thehappymd.com states that clinicians are commonly programmed to take on the following roles throughout their training:  Workaholic, Superhero, Perfectionist or Lone Ranger.  You can read more about this concept HERE, but the bottom line is that you may have subconsciously been trained to take on one of these unsustainable roles, leading to burnout.  

In addition to our PA school training and indoctrination into the world of medicine, the causes of burnout while practicing are multifactorial.  The Mayo Clinic states that the following issues are the heart of burnout (click HERE for more information):

  • “Lack of control. An inability to influence decisions that affect your job — such as your schedule, assignments or workload — could lead to job burnout. So could a lack of the resources you need to do your work.
  • Unclear job expectations. If you’re unclear about the degree of authority you have or what your supervisor or others expect from you, you’re not likely to feel comfortable at work.
  • Dysfunctional workplace dynamics. Perhaps you work with an office bully, or you feel undermined by colleagues or your boss micromanages your work. This can contribute to job stress.
  • Extremes of activity. When a job is monotonous or chaotic, you need constant energy to remain focused — which can lead to fatigue and job burnout.
  • Lack of social support. If you feel isolated at work and in your personal life, you might feel more stressed.
  • Work-life imbalance. If your work takes up so much of your time and effort that you don’t have the energy to spend time with your family and friends, you might burn out quickly.”

Less abstract and more concrete, the Medscape National Physician Burnout & Suicide Report 2020 surveyed more than 15,000 clinicians and found the following burnout contributors:

Many of the causes of burnout are systemic and not due to problems associated with you as an individual.  Now, before you put down your copy of Angela Duckworth’s “GRIT and let yourself completely off of the burnout hook, you will need to learn how to optimally navigate the systems you entered when you became a PA.  The questions you need to ask yourself are “How does this system work?”, followed by “How do I make this system work for me?”

BIG PICTURE:  The causes of burnout have been well documented at this point, but the knowledge of these causes alone is not going to treat or prevent burnout.  The data and your experiences need to serve you, and the best way to leverage them is by learning, deconstructing, and then re-engineering the burnout process.

DISCLAIMERS: 1) The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer. 2) I don’t know what I don’t know, so feel free to message me if you don’t agree with something that you read. 3) I don’t earn any money from the hyperlinks that I’ve included, but I’d like to some day.

KEYWORDS: #burnout #depression #medicine #physicianassistant #nursepractitioner #doctor #physician #barriers #wellness #efficiency #proficiency #control #worklifebalance #happinessatwork #carpediem #clinician #stress #covid #covid19 #pandemic #lifehacks #leverage #tools #charting #physician #MDM #worklife #worklifebalance

LEARN ‘N LEVERAGE: BURNOUT PART 3

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According to this article by Essary, et. al: “…small studies suggest that rates of burnout among PAs may be similar to rates among physicians, between 34 percent and 64 percent.”  Put another way, burnout affects half of all PAs, and according to this article by Shanafelt, et. al., these rates are higher than that of most other professions.

Within the medical profession, the following demographics and features may increase the likelihood of burnout:  

  • Specialty (Emergency Medicine, Primary Care, Hospice and Palliative Care, and Oncology are shown HERE to have the highest rates for PAs)
  • Female gender (shown HERE)
  • Age (Generation X, 40-54 years old, has the highest rates — shown HERE)

The Mayo Clinic states HERE that if you agree with the following statements, you may be at an  increased risk of developing burnout:

  • “You identify so strongly with work that you lack balance between your work life and your personal life.
  • You have a high workload, including overtime work.
  • You try to be everything to everyone.
  • You work in a helping profession, such as health care.
  • You feel you have little or no control over your work.
  • Your job is monotonous.”

DISCLAIMERS: 1) The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer. 2) I don’t know what I don’t know, so feel free to message me if you don’t agree with something that you read. 3) I don’t earn any money from the hyperlinks that I’ve included.

KEYWORDS: #burnout #depression #medicine #physicianassistant #nursepractitioner #doctor #physician #barriers #wellness #efficiency #proficiency #control #worklifebalance #happinessatwork #carpediem #clinician #stress #covid #covid19 #pandemic #lifehacks #leverage #tools #charting #physician #MDM #worklife #worklifebalance

LEARN ‘N LEVERAGE: BURNOUT PART 2

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WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF BURNOUT?

Knowing the concept and definition of burnout is one thing, but it is more important to understand and recognize the common symptoms.  Unfortunately, it may be easier to recognize these symptoms in observing others, and you may have witnessed some extreme examples in professors, colleagues, preceptors or other medical professionals.  Although your burnout may manifest somewhat uniquely, here are the most common symptoms associated with burnout, according to THIS article from the Mayo Clinic:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Sadness
  • Anger or Irritability with patients and colleagues
  • Cynicism
  • Depersonalization
  • Lack of motivation
  • Decreased job satisfaction
  • Increased anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Substance use/abuse

Symptoms will differ among individuals, and it is critical to know how your symptoms of burnout may manifest.  It is also vital to recognize that symptoms typically develop slowly over time, often undetected until a critical threshold, such as seen in the fable of the frog in the boiling pot.  Much like the maladies that we diagnose and treat in our patients, emphasis on prevention and early detection are critical for the best outcomes.

DISCLAIMERS: 1) The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer. 2) I don’t know what I don’t know, so feel free to message me if you don’t agree with something that you read. 3) I don’t earn any money from the hyperlinks that I’ve included.

KEYWORDS: #burnout #depression #medicine #physicianassistant #nursepractitioner #doctor #physician #barriers #wellness #efficiency #proficiency #control #worklifebalance #happinessatwork #carpediem #clinician #stress #covid #covid19 #pandemic #lifehacks #leverage #tools #charting #physician #MDM #worklife #worklifebalance

LEARN ‘N LEVERAGE: BURNOUT

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WHAT IS BURNOUT?

According to Christina Maslach, psychology professor and creator of the gold standard for burnout assessments (Maslach Burnout Inventory, or MBI):

“Burnout is a psychological syndrome emerging as a prolonged response to chronic interpersonal stressors on the job. The three key dimensions of this response are an overwhelming exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment from the job, and a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.”

The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) takes these three dimensions a bit further (click HERE for the AAPA Burnout Blueprint):

  1. Emotional exhaustion“represents the individual level of burnout that includes feelings of being overextended and depleted of one’s emotional and physical resources.”
  2. Cynicism“signifies the interpersonal level of burnout that includes negative or detached responses to various aspects of work.”
  3. Reduced sense of personal accomplishment“characterizes the self-evaluation of burnout that includes negatively evaluating oneself and feeling dissatisfied due to lack of achievement and productivity on the job.”

According to the AAPA’s Joint Task Force on Burnout: Burnout Fact Sheet: “Clinician burnout is related to negative healthcare and personal outcomes, including but not limited to:

  • Increased rates of medical errors or being named in a malpractice suit. 
  • Patient outcomes including healthcare-associated infections.
  • Patient mortality within intensive care, and reduced satisfaction. 
  • Increased healthcare costs and clinician turnover.
  • Alcohol abuse, suicidal ideation, depression and anxiety.”

On the flip side of identifying what burnout is, it’s equally as important to identify what it IS NOT.  First and foremost:  BURNOUT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.  It is not a result of a character flaw, lack of effort or resilience, personal weakness, catalyst for self-loathing, call for 10 more minutes of meditation per day, or inability to “hack it”, and it definitely IS NOT proof that you don’t belong as a PA (aka imposter syndrome).  It is not helpful to assign blame, nor to start down a shame-spiral because you find yourself burned out.  It is a temporary state, with multifactorial roots, when the stressors of our professional lives have overpowered our coping mechanisms.  Simply put, it is when your batteries are drained and you are unable to recharge them fast enough to keep up with the demands on your energy (mental, physical and emotional).

BURNOUT = ENERGY DRAINS > ENERGY RECHARGE     

Burnout is also NOT the same as depression.  Despite the fact that both can occur simultaneously, and can overlap in their symptoms, remember that burnout is, according to the ICD-11, an “occupational phenomenon”.  Depression, on the other hand, “extends to social, occupational, and everyday functioning, not just one’s job”, according to THIS article by Psychology Today.  PAs experiencing burnout may think “Work has been brutal, I might need to change jobs soon”, as opposed to PAs experiencing depression, who may think “Life sucks right now, and everyone can see that I’m a failure.”  If your work-related stressors become pervasive throughout other dimensions of your life, and you start to internalize negative feelings against yourself via sweeping generalizations about your character, then you likely have crossed over from burnout to depression, and need to address this STAT.

BURNOUT ≠ DEPRESSION

DISCLAIMERS: 1) The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer. 2) I don’t know what I don’t know, so feel free to message me if you don’t agree with something that you read. 3) I don’t earn any money from the hyperlinks that I’ve included.

KEYWORDS: #burnout #depression #medicine #physicianassistant #nursepractitioner #doctor #physician #barriers #wellness #efficiency #proficiency #control #worklifebalance #happinessatwork #carpediem #clinician #stress #covid #covid19 #pandemic #lifehacks #leverage #tools #charting #physician #MDM #worklife #worklifebalance

CME: Stretch those 💵 further!

If you want to maximize your CME money, make sure to look for promo or coupon codes to decrease costs of each aspect of your spending.  For example, Travel Medical Seminars routinely offers $25 off their online seminars, the equivalent of an entree at a nice restaurant, just for putting in a promo code during checkout.  You can easily be lulled into thinking, because you are spending “house money”, costs don’t matter as much.  I encourage you to save money on the things you don’t care about, such as skipping the convertible if you’re not a “car person”, and spend lavishly on the things you do enjoy.  For those things that don’t matter to you, take a few minutes to navigate the websites of the organizations you are booking through, looking for ways to decrease costs, and stretch those CME dollars further for the things you want to splurge on (all via your employer’s dime, might I remind you!).

DISCLAIMERS: 1) The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer. 2) I don’t know what I don’t know, so feel free to message me if you don’t agree with something that you read. 3) I don’t earn any money from the companies that I listed within this post, but hope to someday without selling my integrity (Call me 📞 Travel Medical Seminars)

KEYWORDS: #promocodes #save #thrifty #money #free #CME #burnout #medicine #physicianassistant #nursepractitioner #doctor #physician #barriers #wellness #efficiency #proficiency #control #worklifebalance #happinessatwork #carpediem #clinician #stress #covid #covid19 #pandemic #lifehacks #leverage #tools #charting #physician #worklife #worklifebalance

CME: 💰 CASH AND PRIZES

With certain CME purchases, you may be able to increase the relative value of that purchase 3x.  What I mean is that you can find CME to purchase that will benefit you in three ways:

  1. The CME education material will enhance your knowledge of the science and art of medicine, while earning you credits.
  2. The credit card used for purchase, which subsequently will be reimbursed, will reap rewards points for future adventures and purchases. (PRO TIP: Shop around for the best travel or cash rewards credit cards, especially those with bonus offers for new customers, and put the CME expenses on that new card…start HERE, if interested)
  3. You may be entitled to get a Visa, Amazon, Apple or other gift card worth a percentage of the purchase price.  

I know what you’re thinking…a measly $25 Amazon gift card is nice, but not enough to make me settle for some CME activity I’m not interested in.  Well, would it change your mind if I told you that some of these gift cards are worth upwards of $2,000?  For example, if you buy a CME Platinum membership from AudioDigest for $1,999, you will receive a $1,000 gift card!  As another example, that same $1,999 spent at MdCalc will get you a $1,050 gift card!  In essence, these promotions increase your allotted CME money to approximately 150% in purchasing power!

DISCLAIMERS: 1) The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer. 2) I don’t know what I don’t know, so feel free to message me if you don’t agree with something that you read. 3) I don’t earn any money from the companies that I listed within this post, but hope to someday without selling my integrity (Call me 📞 AudioDigest or MdCalc)

KEYWORDS: #creditcardrewards #money #free #CME #burnout #medicine #physicianassistant #nursepractitioner #doctor #physician #barriers #wellness #efficiency #proficiency #control #worklifebalance #happinessatwork #carpediem #clinician #stress #covid #covid19 #pandemic #lifehacks #leverage #tools #charting #physician #MDM #worklife #worklifebalance

CME: ✈️ TRAVEL HACKS

At the time of this writing, we are currently still in the throws of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s challenging to think about traveling at this point in time. But, things will go back to some semblance of normal, and I promise you that most countries’ economies cannot withstand a lack of tourism dollars for too long. Plus, daydreaming about CME vacations is a wonderful break from the reality that is the pandemic. With that said, here you go:

Are you interested in an all-expenses paid trip for you and your family?  I thought so.  Being smart with your CME money and time can easily be leveraged to get just that, and I want you to start looking at CME as an opportunity to have annual or bi-annual vacations through your employer.  

Whether you want to learn about Wilderness Medicine while hiking up Mt. Kilimanjaro, or learn about Endocrinology while cruising around the South Pacific, or even build your own CME, there are copious opportunities to find some travel CME.  There are plenty of companies whose business it is to offer enticing CME opportunities, you just need to know where to look.  You also need to know how strict the CME policies are for your employer, as not all will allow for seminars or conferences outside of a certain geographic region. 

(SIDE NOTE:  I once had to go through the entire Caribbean region, country-by-country, to see which countries my employer would recognize for CME reimbursement…it felt like a geographic version of the childrens’ game “Go Fish”)

Many employers allow you to be reimbursed for flights, food, rental cars, housing and other things related to the CME activities that you have invested in (keep in mind that alcohol purchases are RARELY reimbursed).  Remember, all of the expenses should be put on your credit card and then reimbursed, to continue to build your rewards points for future CME.  The main thing to remember is to keep your receipts, especially itemized receipts if eating or drinking with others.  Keep in mind that the average CME money won’t allot for a lavish lifestyle while traveling, but if you shop around for best pricing on flights, housing and other necessities, and combine your CME funds with credit card points, you may just be able to pull off an extravagant vacation.

TIPS:

  1. CREATE THE OPPORTUNITY: If you want to do a specific type of trip or visit a specific place, but yet can’t find an opportunity that fits, then MAKE ONE.  Companies such as Travel Medical Seminars allow you to establish the location, dates and materials to be studied, then sends you everything you need, and allows you a truly D.I.Y. CME experience.  This works well for those wanting a “stay-cation” (Imagine learning from the comforts of your own home, in your pajamas, while eating out at local restaurants each night) and also those with some wanderlust. 
    (PRO TIP:  Use TMS to build a vacation around visiting a friend or family member, as you can spend time with them, likely cut out housing costs, and make your CME money go further.)
  2. GO BIG OR STAY HOME:  If your leftover CME money rolls over to the next fiscal year, then consider saving up and going bigger with each CME adventure.
  3. PARTIALLY FUND SOMETHING AMAZING:  If you’re one of the lucky ones whose employer has no set limitations on where you can do CME activities, then you would be silly not to take advantage of getting reimbursed for part of an expensive adventure.  Although it may not cover all of the costs to go to Queenstown, New Zealand through MER, having your CME money allotment to partially-fund the trip-of-a-lifetime is surely a good start!
  4. THE MORAL DILEMMA.  It’s a rarely-discussed fact that many people skip out on some, if not all, of the CME activities when they go on CME vacations.  Some of these folks will also fraudulently claim credit for having attended the activities that they skipped.  Given that there are potential consequences with this practice, I DO NOT recommend attempting this, especially because you may be audited in the future, and your employer may not be pleased with your behaviors if they catch wind.  But, in the end, you will make the choice and have to live with the consequences.  I DO recommend that you stay within your moral character when making decisions, consider only signing up for companies that run half-day activities, or that you choose to attend and claim credit for only the activities you are interested in. (TIP:  Remember that if you’ve built your CME system correctly, you do not NEED to get all of the credits, as you’ve banked more than enough with the strategies I’ve outlined in other posts for you…but please, ask around to others in your organization or HR and make sure it is kosher for you to not attend the entire CME activity.)

DISCLAIMERS: 1) The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer. 2) I don’t know what I don’t know, so feel free to message me if you don’t agree with something that you read. 3) I don’t earn any money from the companies that I listed within this post, but hope to someday without selling my integrity (Call me 📞 Travel Medical Seminars, MER, or any other company who specializes in Travel CME)

KEYWORDS: #free #travel #wanderlust #CME #burnout #medicine #physicianassistant #nursepractitioner #doctor #physician #barriers #wellness #efficiency #proficiency #control #worklifebalance #happinessatwork #carpediem #clinician #stress #covid #covid19 #pandemic #lifehacks #leverage #tools #charting #physician #MDM #worklife #worklifebalance