I’m here to tell you that all CME credits are not created equal, especially as it relates to the cost. It seems that we associate CME with having to spend money on a seminar, online training course, or some other educational opportunity with a price tag. I encourage you to think about CME credit accumulation and resources as connected but not mutually exclusive to one another. You can accumulate the required number of credits often at the cost of $0. This frees up your money and time allotment for CME activities that you are actually interested in. Example: this Everest Base Camp Trek.
The easiest way I know how to accumulate free Category 1 CME credits is to continue doing what most of us are already doing: daily use of UpToDate. Many employers, especially larger organizations, will provide free access to this resource. All you need to do is to make sure that you are logged in when you search.
You will accumulate 0.5 Category 1 CME credits for each search that you do. These will add up VERY quickly, well past the required 100 necessary for each 2-year cycle. I don’t think my account has dipped below 500+ CME credits in the last 2 years due to the frequency of my usage through my free account. (PRO TIP: If your employer doesn’t cover the cost of a subscription to UpToDate, negotiate for this at some point. This is the equivalent of nearly $1000 and frees you up to make CME your “fun money”)
If you work for a larger organization there are likely a plethora of free CME activities available to you. I’m willing to bet that there is actually a CME tab on your intranet website. This will clearly lay the opportunities out for you. (Not sure? Go ahead and look). Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities that can be baked into your current schedule, but only pursue those things that you are interested in learning about. One example is taking part in electronic medical record (EMR) proficiency classes, of which you will earn some CME credits and also decrease time spent within the EMR…a “Win-Win”. (PRO TIP: Always look for CME opportunities that do more than just get you some required credits…dual-purpose or “Win-Win”)
And if you’re still looking for Free CME opportunities, there’s this aptly-named website called FreeCME.com…of course there is, right?! #internet
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