Continuing medical education

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7127.246 (Published 24 January 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:246

Needs to be more effective, accountable, and responsive to all stakeholders in health

  1. Tessa Richards, Associate editor
  1. BMJ

    Medical education is unfit for the millennium. Professional conservatism, inertia, and poor leadership have left it struggling to cope with rapidly changing health care systems. Those universities that have adopted new educational programmes may dispute this, but globally they are in a minority and their experiences have mostly not been evaluated or well disseminated. Too many education programmes at all levels continue to churn out “time honoured” material, present it boringly, and assess its absorption predominantly by written tests. Too few train doctors, both new and established, to acquire the skills that the new trends in health care demand.

    Adult learning theory holds that a key element of good teaching is the ability to stimulate self learning. This message has been accepted at medical undergraduate level, where many universities have introduced variations on problem based learning curriculums. Continuing medical education has, however, lagged behind. More emphasis has been placed on quantity than quality, despite the fact that ever more credence is being given to the role of continuing medical education in maintaining professional standards.

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