The residency training experience is the perfect environment for learning. The university/institution patient population provides a never-ending supply of patients with unique management challenges. Resources abound that allow the discovery of knowledge about similar situations. Senior teachers provide counseling and help direct appropriate care. Periodic testing and evaluations identify deficiencies, which can be corrected with future study. What happens, however, when the resident graduates? Do they possess all the knowledge they'll need for the rest of their career? Will medical discovery stand still limiting the need for future study? If initial certification establishes that the physician has the skills and knowledge to function as an independent physician and surgeon, how do we assure the public that plastic surgeons will practice lifelong learning and remain safe throughout their career? Enter Maintenance of Certification (MOC). In an ideal world, MOC would provide many of the same tools as residency training: identification of gaps in knowledge, resources to correct those deficiencies, overall assessment of knowledge, feedback about communication skills and professionalism, and methods to evaluate and improve one's practice. This article discusses the need; for education and self-assessment that extends beyond residency training and a commitment to lifelong learning. The American Board of Plastic Surgery MOC program is described to demonstrate how it helps the diplomate reach the goal of continuous practice improvement.
- Lifelong learning
- Surgical education