IT’S MORE THAN JUST TRAVEL CME: 
AN EMBEDDED ETHNOGRAPHY OF A UNIQUE EMERGENCY MEDICINE CONFERENCE

(Penciner R. & Dainty K. It’s more than just Travel CME:  An Embedded Ethnography of a Unique Emergency Medicine Conference. Presented at Canadia Association of Emergency Physicians Scientific Assembly, Quebec City, Quebec, June 2016).

Background

Travel-based continuing medical education (CME) has become a popular format for physicians looking to combine education with travel. However these programs do not usually include shared group activities and when they
do, they are often social, sedentary events. In addition, the quality of these programs has been called into question.

Emergency Medicine Update (EMU) Europe www.EMUEurope.com is a unique biennial accredited CME Conference which combines high quality Emergency Medicine focused education with organized group physical and social activities in European locales

Objectives

The objective of this study is to understand and evaluate: 

What draws physicians to EMU Europe
The ‘ethos’ that is created during the program
How delivering education in this way impacts learning and uptake

Context

EMU Europe took place in Provence, France in October 2015.  The event consisted of 15 hours of scheduled, formal  interactive education over 5 days facilitated by leading Emergency Medicine educators from North America.  There were 63 attendees from across North America.  The group activities included professionally curated cycling & hiking trips.

Methods

We undertook a participant observation-based ethnography.  One researcher was embedded on the trip and conducted approximately 40 key informant interviews & 80 hours of observation. Thematic content analysis, which emphasizes pinpointing, examining, and recording patterns or themes within data was conducted.

Findings

3 KEY PHENOMENA OBSERVED

1.  Social engagement and a sense of community
     Involvement in group physical and social activities supports more interactive learning.

    “It’s like summer camp for ED docs!”
    “Perhaps with the adrenalin up through the activities we have clearer minds; being ‘sequestered’ and not distracted helps for sharing ideas.”

   
2.  Stimulating escape
     High quality education and stimulating travel to be provided in an efficient package. 

    “The ability to combine travel and education when you have a busy life is huge; when they are separate, one suffers”

3.  ‘Flat’ faculty-learner relationships
      Accessibility and innovative teaching, a key component of the quality of the education.

    “As faculty I do far more teaching on hikes and at dinner than I do in the sessions.”

Conclusion

While each trip in and of itself might be unique, there appears to be some common elements that contribute to the educational success of this model including:

  1. Building a sense of community
  2. Providing a stimulating escape
  3. Choosing faculty with specific teaching styles 

To our knowledge this is the first empirical research in this area and improves our understanding of how to leverage this approach for more effective continuing medical education.