How much CE do you take?

I’m a continuing education junkie. I admit it. I can’t help myself.  As a matter of fact, I am writing this in an uber on my way to Logan Airport in Boston after a great weekend of education on clear aligner therapy. My friends me that they can’t understand how I have the energy to travel for so much CE, but I couldn’t imagine it any other way.
Yes, some courses aren’t as amazing as advertised, but even under the worst of circumstances I can find at least one great nugget or pearl to take home, whether it’s taught to me from the stage or from a fellow attendee.
In our OrthopreneursRD group, I believe we have at least 100 hours of  in-person CE scheduled every year and the best part of just spending time with people I care about. The education seems like a great side bonus.
I know that not everyone is built this way, and traveling can be expensive and time consuming, but I couldn’t imagine practicing without trying to constantly get better at my craft.  Best of all, early in my career, it was the live attendance courses that helped me make connections and accelerate the growth of my practice.
Sure, you can take webinars and read journals and textbooks, but I’m just an “in-person” kind of guy. Plus, I absolutely love seeing my peers. We tend to practice in our own spaces, and it’s refreshing when I get to connect with others who are on a parallel journey, sharing tips, tricks and best of all, the journey.
But you say that don’t have time to take courses? You have a busy life or young kids or a spouse who works or you’re a single parent. I totally get it. Life obligations can get in the way, and I’ve been there with three young kids. I just couldn’t imagine telling my patients that I don’t really take every opportunity to get better and luckily, my spouse knew this about me when we got married.
I’m not here to tell you that you should be as crazy and take a couple of hundred hours of CE every year or visit a dozen practices, but I think as health-care professionals, in addition to being members of study groups and FB groups, we owe it to our patients to give them the best care we possibly can and that innovation and growth can often come only in live-learning situations. Could you imagine going to a surgeon who, before performing the procedure, told you that he/she couldn’t take much CE this year because their child had a lot of travel softball games, so they simply couldn’t find the time? Think this doesn’t happen in orthodontics? Guess again.
Before the Orthopreneurs Summit, I will get numerous messages from orthodontists asking me how many hours the meeting is because they need “x” amount of hours to meet their state’s minimum continuing education requirements.
All day long on FB we’ll hear comments like “I do my best to help my patients” and “I love being an orthodontist” but it’s also important to remember that our obligations to both comments includes the inconvenience, cost and burden of staying up to date on the newest materials, techniques and practice management through continuing education.
Without a doubt, the best clinicians I’ve ever met, with the most fulfilling practice and personal lives are the ones whom I’ve met on my jouney, and as matter of fact, the meeting I just left had at least 4 doctors (out of 16) in their 70’s with practices that most of us would love to have.
So, if you don’t take a lot of live CE, try your best to take that extra course, or visit that extra meeting. It’s hard for me to recall a course or meeting that I regretted attending and best of all, we get to spend time nurturing our professional self and connecting with those who really understand our journey and commitment.
Wishing you all the best!!!
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Want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group like none other? With monthly webinars and CE courses with top speakers in the industry, there are only two prerequisites: You’re an orthodontist (yes, you can be an associate) and you want to contribute to a group of like-minded peers who have come together to share our practice ideas and solve our common business, leadership and management issues. Email me at to learn more and to see if you’re region is available.
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