Succumb to Conference Fatigue
falling into a rut by adjusting your attitude and being on the lookout for knowledge.
BY DAN BECK, O.D.
I ATTENDED A continuing education
conference, but not for optometrists. This one was for pharmacists. Why? I wanted
a first-hand look at how other healthcare professionals put together their conferences.
Of course, it didn't hurt that this particular conference just happened to be taking
place at the Dolphin Hotel in Disney World. And, with my sons being 8 years old
and 5 years old ... well, you get the picture.
So, did I learn anything? Actually, what I took
away from this conference in addition to some great pharma information
was a clearer understanding of the value we can derive from our own optometry meetings.
Wired and Eager to Learn
From the time I arrived at the hotel, it was clear
the pharmacy profession is much better "wired" than optometry. From check-in to
the daily schedule, everything was automated. They even had a place to load the
conference schedule into a PDA.
When I inquired about a form I needed
to get CE credits, the man at the kiosk just looked at me for a second and said,
"You do know you can do that online, don't you?"
attending several courses, I also noticed other differences. As I glanced around
the room at my first course (which started at 5:45 a.m.!), I was amazed at what
I saw. Every attendee in the room was paying attention to the speaker. Even toward
the end of the 2-hour presentation, the speaker still had nearly all eyes on her.
When the course ended, instead
of making a beeline for the door, many people stayed to ask questions or listen
in as the speaker expanded on key points. Even in the exhibit hall, the pharmacists
were drilling company reps with questions and visiting nearly every booth, not just
those with free stuff.
Contrary to what some of you may be thinking,
I'm not trying to denigrate optometry conferences. Most offer diverse, relevant
courses with wellrespected speakers. What bothers me is the attitude many O.D.s
take to these CE meetings. I have a hard time understanding why anyone would pay
for a course, only to attend it without trying to learn something.
Most new grads and younger optometrists
are very enthusiastic about CE conferences, and I applaud that. My point is as your
experience in the field grows, be careful not to lose that enthusiasm and thirst
for knowledge. By definition, to practice a profession is to continually keep learning
and upgrading your skills and expertise.
The next time you're sitting at a CE
meeting, remember what Carlos Santana once said, "If you gotta sweep the floor,
sweep the damn floor and don't be jiving!" Wise words.
A 1993 graduate of PCO, Dr. Beck is always
looking for new avenues of learning.
Optometric Management, Issue: September 2006