Lifelong learning has been described as “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated”1 pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons, mainly for personal and professional development, but also competitiveness and employability.1
The 28th Annual Clinical Symposium on Advances in Skin & Wound Care: The Conference for Prevention and Healing, which will be held October 24–27, 2013, at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, brings all of the contemporary learning paradigms together in one venue. The novel technologies, which complement the teaching styles of thought and content leaders with the learning needs of the conference participants, are exemplified by multimedia, platform presentations, case studies, and interactive hands-on opportunities. Moreover, the main learning opportunities are the indispensable peer-to-peer interactions that take place in the courses, the exhibit hall, poster presentations, and dinner meetings. The course content incorporates all aspects of the patient-oriented spectrum in wound care. From a policy perspective, learners will be exposed to real-world scenarios that examine how health and payment policies intersect with the people who must implement them in the field.
This course is truly an interprofessional opportunity that provides credits for licensure and maintenance for various disciplines including nurses, physical therapists, dietitians, podiatrists, and physicians. Collaborations with the American College of Hyperbaric Medicine (ACHM) will feature a dedicated hyperbaric track. The ACHM will also offer 3 exams on October 27, 2013: (1) Physician Certification in Wound Care, (2) Physician Certification in Hyperbaric Medicine, and (3) Certified Hyperbaric and Wound Specialist.
Beyond the CME credits, attendees need to understand the framework of certification and competency.
I believe the course design allows for a mixture of attaining both certification and competency. Questions remain, however; can we rely on traditional cognitive-based examinations to ensure a minimum level of knowledge? Or, should we measure bedside or point-of-service competency by using testing techniques that measure the candidates’ ability to demonstrate actual patient care applications at the bedside, in addition to a written examination for certification? Although the course is certainly not at the bedside, the “hands-on workshops” and clinical simulations allow for both cognitive and psychomotor skills development and measurement in a conference setting. For clarification, I think it is important to briefly review these concepts.
Certification: The term implies ability, authority, and adherence to a set of standards deemed appropriate from a regulatory body. The granting authority stems from respect for the group granting the certification or from having some legal or controlling authority to do so, such as a professional organization, or a state nursing, medical, or allied health licensing body. The covenant is that persons who earn a certificate have achieved the minimum standard, according to preset principles. Certifications have become important for the wound care professional and an important indicator of one’s ability to care for this special group of patients.2
Competency: In a professional sense, the term implies one’s ability to carry out a task in a safe and competent manner. The practitioner must possess the psychomotor skills to observe the patient, evaluate the clinical situation, and treat the patient in a real-world environment. Moreover, the practitioner must communicate with others in the multidisciplinary environment, including organizations and payers (systems-based practice).2 In other words, the practitioners must practically apply cognitive-based learning, and I think the course effectively provides this opportunity in a robust way.
I believe that the “knowledge economy” has provided an expansive array of options for the pursuit of professional education, including our conference.