A traditional medical model of formal education, followed by hands on training in a residency setting provided a solid base of education for most doctors. As medicine and surgery advanced further specialties developed specific interest groups with unique skills sets that then evolved into sub-specialties. These sub-specialities then grew into well established fellowship training programs where unique skill sets were passed on in a reliable fashion. I was the benefit of such an evolution of training. Having completed fellowships in Oral/Head and Neck Oncology as well as Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, I am very thankful for the visionaries that pushed boundaries to make these training pathways a possibility. What these unique people did over decades must be continued and that is why this blog article is called “Teaching is the Key: Continuing to educate when Education is done.”
In the history of medicine it was also realized that here was just no way to learn and retain everything one needs to practice for a lifetime. Thus the area of continuing education was created. There is great draw once education is complete and one has “arrived” at the finish line, to rest on the wealth of knowledge obtained. What I have found though is when we do that we stagnate. Continuing education is fantastic, but one of the greatest ways I have learned to challenge both myself and others is to continue to educate others around me. This both pushes you to obtain mastery of an area but also to stay sharp in all the facets of practice.
So what does this look like in daily practice? First, resident education is a tremendous way in which to stay in the world of educating. I am very fortunate to be able to do this full time. While many individuals may not have the same opportunity, there are many adjunct faculty opportunities available out there! Second, conference and meeting speaking engagements are always a fantastic opportunity to both teach and network. Creating a mutual learning environment allows you to both educate and also glean knowledge from well experienced providers in your audience. I have found this to be a very engaging and rewarding way to teach. Next, the internet has created an amazing teaching platforms such as this blog in which we can more easily pass on information which is then be viewed at the consumer’s (yes thats you) leisure. Lastly, local meetings and interest groups are always a fantastic way in which to stay involved in education. Several months ago I had the wonderful opportunity to speak and lecture via a live facial filler demo with the Department of Dermatology at Eastern Virginia Medical School. What a wonderful educational experience for everyone including me where I learned more about the practice of my dermatology colleagues! Today we live in a wonderful collective learning environment where we can share learned knowledge in cross specialty environments that are unlike the stringently isolated historic educational methods.
At the end of the day: keep learning, keep teaching, don’t settle, be your best!!
Dr J Marshall Green III DDS
Cosmetic and Reconstructive Facial Surgery
Hampton Roads, Virginia