It's easy to skip continuing education (CE) opportunities. But the next time you must choose between attending a CE event
or catching up on work, pause to consider the importance of education with these tips:
Talk yourself into it
We get it. You're busy. Here's why you should get over it: Classes, conferences and industry meetings offer unique and hard-to-replicate
learning opportunities. They offer a chance to engage with colleagues, access cutting-edge information and new schools of
thought and provide insights into trends within your area of interest. Conference expenditures may feel like discretionary
spending, but it's really a smart investment in professional development.
Quiet the voice suggesting you'll be more productive if you stay in the clinic. If you've done your homework, you know you've
made an informed decision. My colleagues shared with me these favorite benefits of attending conferences:
> You gain a new perspective on work by talking to peers and listening to their feedback
> You explore new strategies for dealing with issues that may have stymied you
> You get to focus on the topics being discussed without being sidetracked by office distractions.
Maximize the experience
When choosing a conference, look for one that includes at least one practical session that provides information you can use
as soon as you return to the office. Then at the conference, keep a list of action items. The action item list makes it easy
to implement strategies when you get back.
Cultivate your colleagues
Talk to your colleagues and get to know them. Network with a purpose. Use the face-to-face time to address the issues bothering
you. Listen to your peers and be open to new suggestions.
Embrace the exhibit hall
Spending time with exhibitors is another important way to educate yourself. When you understand what exhibitors do and offer,
you are in a better position to use their expertise or product to enhance your practice.
Make time to relax
Although professional conferences are filled with educational programs, activities and more, remember to rest and relax. Recharge
your battery so you return to the office refreshed.
Choosing a meeting wisely and following through on what you learn can ensure that the conference yields a big payoff: your
continued professional growth. Visit
http://dvm360.com/VHMA for a tool to help you conduct preconference reconnaissance. Then check out CE opportunities at
Christine Shupe is the executive director of the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association. The association is dedicated to
serving professionals in veterinary management through education, certification and networking.