CCMEP™ is the only credential that designates qualified individuals as Certified CME Professionals.


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Dave Clausen, CCMEP and member of the NC-CME Marketing Committee, interviews prominent Certified CME Professionals about becoming a CCMEP.

NC-CME Newsletter Interview Series:
Jane Grube, CCMEP,
Associate Director for Continuing Education,
Lehigh Valley Health Network, Allentown, PA.

Dave Clausen: Can you describe your role at Lehigh Valley Health Network, and how CME plays into your day-to-day responsibilities?

Jane Grube: As the Associate Director for Continuing Education, I oversee and manage multiple accredited programs (including CME, CNE, and Social Work), while also coordinating educational programming in pharmacy and areas not within our scope of accreditation by collaborating with outside organizations. With only 6 people in our CME office, we manage to pull off an impressive volume of programming. In 2011 alone, we produced 70 live programs, 40 of which were RSS (regularly-scheduled series), representing 875 hours of live instruction for about 17,350 individuals and clinical staff.

We take a two-fold approach to generating programming for this volume of activity: 1) the CME office recognizes a need (based on literature review or personal involvement with different hospital committees) and then coordinates with appropriate faculty to get it done, or 2) faculty identify the need, based on either patient-related demand or knowledge of changes in the system (i.e. changes wrought by ACOs, etc.).

In addition, we meet with an inter-professional and cross-discipline advisory board every month to discuss ideas for new programs, and to get approval for programs that have been proposed. This is uniquely valuable because it helps us to shape programming that adopts a team approach, wherever that makes sense, which is quite often. It also promotes good collaboration and conversation about the best ways to approach an educational intervention

Dave: You transitioned from being employed by a medical education company to a health system. Can you describe some of the unique challenges you face as a CME professional at the latter, which you didn’t have at the former?

Jane: At the MEC, the good thing and bad thing was commercial support. It wasn’t always easy to get, but when you got it, you had more budget to work with to deliver innovative programming, employ newer technologies, and the like.

Hospital systems operate on a tighter budget, in comparison. However, our overhead is significantly lower, when you consider that we can’t pay the faculty employed by our system and we don’t have room rental costs, since we have our own event space. Hospital systems also have something of a captive audience of learners, so the recruitment process is not as challenging.

Another important difference I’ve noticed: in a MEC (or university-based health system setting) you have a certain level of respect for people in CME and expect a certain level of expertise. In a typical community hospital, the CME office often has only one or two people who may have little or no training in CME, and are in an administrative support position with CME thrown in as an additional task. One of the areas I’ve made a point of improving upon here, as a result of my experience, was to make sure the CME team has a certain level of training and understanding of the core areas covered in the NC-CME exam (which was quite a wake-up call for the organization). Another challenge I’ve taken on is working to raise the level of awareness of the office within the hospital.

Dave: Has the addition of “CCMEP” to your title inspired any conversations with colleagues or proffered any unforeseen benefits?

Jane: Since I earned the credential in January 2011, some people have definitely noticed. One of the positive cultural qualities about Lehigh is that they very much encourage, and expect, professional advancement in their people. For instance, Lehigh paid for the CCMEP prep course, for the exam, and they reimburse for attending the Alliance conference. There’s a high expectation at this organization that you will continue your professional development and pursuit of advanced degrees, and earning the CCMEP ensured that I was aligned with the organizational culture and had an opportunity to highlight CME as a profession in itself.

Dave: Thinking about the exam, were there certain areas that were more challenging for you than others, for any reason?

Jane: Questions related to the regulatory bodies were the most challenging. When I think about the things that I need to know to do my job everyday, there were a lot of items in the exam that had little to do with that. I was unclear on the relevance of knowing which organizations hold seats on specific boards….

Dave: How did you prepare for the CCMEP exam? Any pointers to share?

Jane: The most significant thing we did was scheduling a CCMEP prep course here, bringing in AOE Consulting to administer it. Everyone in the office participated, although I was the only one to take the exam at the time (other team members are taking it in the Fall). In addition to our CME office, we opened up the course to other groups within our system (nursing, quality improvement) as well as other non- Lehigh network hospitals in the area to come and participate. Our goal in opening up the course to groups beyond our office was so that they have a greater sense of the scope of our work as CME professionals. Ultimately, it helped us to establish what have come to be ongoing partnerships with other departments and organizations, and it gave the people on our team a better sense of their jobs and what they skills they need. Of course, if they went on and took the exam, that was just gravy.

Dave: Can you highlight any other professional benefits to attaining CCMEP status?

Jane: It certainly gave me more credibility within the organization and profession. “Oh, I didn’t know they had a certification …” was a common response. It has also helped to foster respect and collaboration with other CCMEP professionals. For people looking for a new job or career opportunity, I think it certainly gives you a leg up.

 
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