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Continuing Education During a Pandemic

I have always enjoyed school and learning – as evidenced by my nine years of university completing my Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and doctorate degree (Optometry), plus a few extra meandering courses along the way! One of the things that I love about practicing optometry is the ongoing opportunity for continued learning and development of professional knowledge and skills.

Many regulated healthcare professionals are required to complete continuing education hours in order to maintain professional licensing. Optometry mandates a minimum of twenty hours of continuing education per year, with at least half of these hours dedicated to ocular disease courses. The remaining hours may be used to learn about product knowledge, business management, communication, and leadership.

This year brought a number of changes to the way I completed my continuing education requirements. Gone were the weekend conference “getaways” to the city, and instead courses were completed via online platforms at my kitchen table. I focused on glaucoma, diabetes, and retinal pathology topics this year. I also spent an inordinate amount of time learning about Covid-19 and all the associated protective and sanitization protocols.

I read a number of fascinating books about the effects of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes on our overall health and wellness. A few excellent books on this topic:

The Diabetes Code and The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung

Why We Get Sick by Dr. Benjamin Bikman

(You can also find YouTube talks by these authors if you prefer video content to reading!)

On personal values, communication, and leadership, I enjoyed the book Dare to Lead by Brene Brown. And this year was a great time to re-read the classic book Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, with its reminder that each of us have the freedom to find purpose and meaning in even the most difficult circumstances.

Dr. Lisa Scharf