Over the last decade, the number of individuals struggling with mental health issues has increased, while the number of inpatient beds for mental health patients has continually declined. The journal Psychiatric Services estimated in 2017 that more than 8 million Americans were suffering from serious psychological problems. Unfortunately, this coincides with an ongoing trend of deinstitutionalization that began over 50 years ago when state hospitals decided that many of their mentally ill inpatients would do just as well in the community.
The medical profession has long realized the importance of continuing professional development. In the Aphorisms of Hippocrates, the first one reads: “Life is short, and Art long; the crisis fleeting; experience perilous, and decision difficult. The physician must not only be prepared to do what is right himself, but also to make the patient, the attendants, and externals cooperate.” While 2400 years ago the term continuing medical education (CME) was not yet in use, there was recognition that physicians need to continue to learn throughout their professional life. The fields of medicine and science never stop moving. New technology and research changes the industry constantly! Physicians spend anywhere from from seven to nine years studying for their profession, but that is only the beginning. They should never stop educating themselves and keeping up with advances. This is where accredited continuing medical information comes into play.
It’s a Sunday afternoon and your child has an alarmingly high fever. Or you have cut yourself preparing dinner and think you need stitches. Do you head to the ER? If you’re like an increasing majority of Americans, your next move is not the hospital, but to visit a walk-in urgent care clinic.
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Emerald Coast Medical Association members are the exclusive authors of the 'Ask the Doctor' column for The Circuit magazine. Our members create educational articles that are provided to the public.