2012 London Olympics, Medicine and Medical Education

Lawrence Sherman, FACEHP, CCMEP Senior Vice President at Prova Education shares his thoughts on CME from an international perspective and its links with the London 2012 Olympics.
Lawrence Sherman, Olympics, Medicine and Medical Education

Hey, it’s Lawrence Sherman, talking to you about medical education again. It struck me that I travel so much that maybe the subtitle for this blog should be, “Medical Education Around the World.” I just arrived here in the UK last night, and all the Olympics signs and banners are still around.

I’m going to try to steal one. It would make a great souvenir. Or maybe I’ll ask and not steal; because now I’m out there saying I’m going to steal something. Probably not the smartest move if you’re going to be a criminal is to let the authorities know beforehand that you’re going to do something.

Anyway, it got me thinking about the tie-in between the Olympics and medicine and medical education. I thought about all the great performances of the individual athletes like Usain Bolt and of the teams, like the USA basketball team, (I had to mention something U.S.), and it really ties in nicely with medical education.

If you think about it, sometimes health care professionals are really out there alone.  They have to make decisions and think about things and their individual performance is what we think about.  But more often than not, we have to think about them as a team.

So, when you think about a basketball team, a volleyball team, a water polo team, a soccer or football team, and the performance of each member of the team is what’s necessary in order to get a successful outcome, right? You want to win a gold medal; a silver medal. You want to feel good about your performance. Same thing happens in medicine.

So, we have a health care team. And all of the team members have to be thinking together, so we need to educate them together so that they get to the gold medal performance in patient care. So, there really is a tie-in when you think about how a team prepares for an event and the way a health care team prepares to manage patients.

So, let’s think about how we can teach our health care professionals as a team so that they really do work seamlessly.  The pass the ball to one another and not have a gap in communication so that each player knows what the other one’s role is. Knows what they can expect from everyone else on the team, and at the end of the day, the gold medal is the patient getting better, improving, blood levels improving.  The ultimate measure of outcome is that we are successful and we can stand on the podium and be proud of how we managed that patient.

So: Olympics. Medical education. There’s some commonality. Let’s think about individual performances, but let’s think of team performances and let’s teach our health care professionals on an ongoing basis so that they can come back again and again and be proud of what they’ve accomplished.