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Friday, November 20, 2015

Maintaining Standards as a lifelong learner

Every ten years, doctors have to re-take their exams for Board Certification in their specialty.  For Pediatrics, this is one step in a four-part process that includes maintaining state licensure (which requires a biyearly total of continuing medical education hours), working through x number of board-specific approved education modules, and doing a quality improvement project.  The exam is the most intimidating step--a day in a Prometric cubicle, with all the attendant security.

It's basically like working through a crowded waiting room, seeing 200 patients in rapid succession, with only a few minutes to discern the key issue and management for each one based on the limited data provided.  You have to pull out the important clues, make the key connections, figure out what is being asked.  This time, coming from five years at Kijabe, I think I had more breadth of actual experience to develop the gut instinct for more diseases.  Kijabe pretty much sees it all, well, except for much obesity or drug abuse, two things I did try to study up on before the test.

This time, I noticed a sort of PTSD component to the exam.  Most questions weren't theoretical.  Many times I could imagine just such a scenario, or think of an actual patient.  That's perhaps the transition from being a young doctor fresh from training with lots of facts in my head, to an old(er) doctor whose heart is full of emotion because the cases are real kids.  I found myself thinking of them with a heart that raced or ached, and had to focus back on the next question.

If I don't pass, I will humbly come back and beg for prayer as I repeat the exam.  But I'm hoping for the best.  My oldest says I have the spiritual gift of multiple choice.  Let's hope he's right.  I also have the Spirit giving me some boost of discernment in real life.  One thing the studying and the exam confirmed for me again:  I love pediatrics, and being a doctor.  Jumping through the hoops to keep the paperwork straight isn't my favorite, but the reality it represents continues to inspire me:  being a lifelong learner, and serving real people.

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