Author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “Don’t let your learning lead to knowledge. Let your learning lead to action.” And this sentiment applies doubly when it comes to continuing education for PTs and PTAs. If you’re a physical therapy provider, then you’re undoubtedly aware that your state requires you to complete a set number of continuing education units (CEUs) within a specific timeframe. (If you’re a little hazy on the CEU requirements for your state, check out this post from the WebPT Blog.)
But, if you’re cramming a bunch of con-ed into your spare time just to be done with it—especially if your chosen courses are less than stellar—then you’re not really advancing yourself in the path to action. After all, the whole point of CEUs is to boost physical therapists’ existing knowledge in a way that empowers them to deliver the best—and safest—care to their patients. That’s why it’s crucial to not only choose the right CEU content, but also understand what to do once you’ve completed a continuing education course. So, to help you get the biggest bang for your con-ed buck, here are the four most important steps every PT should take after completing a con-ed course.
1. Review and re-organize your notes.
If you’re like me, then you’re probably a note-taking machine during your con-ed courses. (And if your notes look like the incoherent ramblings of someone who drinks too much coffee, then we have even more in common.) But, no matter how great your note-taking skills are, your notes won’t do you any good if they get buried under stacks of paperwork once you return to the clinic. That’s why it’s advantageous to compile everything you jotted down and organize it into a neater, cleaner version immediately after completing the course. (This is especially effective if you take notes on a laptop or computer.) Then, share that info with your colleagues. That way, you can solidify what you’ve learned while also giving your team the benefit of your knowledge. You can deliver your findings in whatever way is most effective for your team, but I recommend either:
- Writing and distributing a summary of what you learned; or
- Discussing your findings at your next staff meeting.
2. Obtain a recording.
They say that repetition is the mother of learning, so it’s a good thing that most conferences record their sessions and make them available for purchase afterwards, thus giving you a chance to go over anything you might’ve missed.
That said, as awesome as conferences are, attending one usually requires extensive planning, travel, and often, a hefty price tag. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution: many reputable organizations and industry thought leaders (including WebPT) now offer their own online CEUs. In addition to providing instant CEU access, online courses typically allow extended availability of the content. So, instead of paying to access the recording for a session you’ve already attended, you can retake and rewatch CEU content whenever you want—and as often as you want—following your initial purchase.
3. Keep everything on file.
Once you’ve completed a CEU course, be sure to keep any certificates of completion on hand. In fact, many states require you to retain documentation of CEU completion for a certain amount of time. For example, this page from the PT Board of California’s website specifically advises providers to keep any documentation of continuing competency completion on file “for a period of five years after the course or activity concludes.” This is because your state PT board could request an audit of your continuing competency records, and if you report that you’ve obtained CEUs—but can’t provide proof of completion upon request—it could result in disciplinary action.
4. Follow up on networking leads.
If you prefer attending conferences or in-person classes to obtain your CEUs, then you’ve most likely exchanged business cards with a wide array of industry professionals. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to forget about those business cards, and they may not see the light of day until you finally clean out your wallet. If this sounds like you, then you could be missing out on some golden opportunities. After all, aside from earning con-ed credits, one of the biggest advantages of attending conferences or in-person courses is the numerous networking opportunities. So, after the dust has settled and you’re starting to organize all of your learnings, pull those business cards out of your wallet and start reaching out. This could be as simple as connecting on LinkedIn or shooting a quick email. Either way, just make sure that your new connections don’t forget about you.
When it comes to getting the most out of continuing education, it’s not just about the courses you choose. What you do with the information you glean will greatly affect the impact of your continuing education. That said, picking the right courses—as well as the right delivery method for those courses—is definitely a crucial step. That’s why WebPT has made continuing competency easier than ever. With WebPT CEU, you’ll get access to:
- More than 500 on-demand, accredited courses
- Seamless, automated grading and certificate generation
- Progress tracking
- Current and accurate requirements by state and specialty
- Forever access to completed coursework
- Assessment PRO Specialty Tests access
It’s more than just a CEU platform; it’s a complete con-ed solution that will keep you compliant and up to date with your state’s CEU requirements—all with the click of a button.