The Foundation for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine’s Futures Program is the beginning of a career in post-acute and long-term care (PALTC); and the Core Curriculum for Medical Direction in PALTC and the Certified Medical Director (CMD) designation are the bricks that build on that base.
As American Board of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (ABPLM) chair and a fellowship program director at the University of Louisville, Laura Morton, MD, CMD, says she, “initiates conversations about the Core and the CMD designation with my fellows, especially those who already express tremendous enthusiasm for this field.” They have a unique opportunity, she notes, to take a simpler path to pursuing this designation; and their fellowship is a bridge to certification. “I make it clear that neither the Futures Program nor the Core Curriculum gives them everything they will need, but these efforts are an excellent start; and they give them a leg up on their career.”
The Core program is a natural for her fellows, Dr. Morton suggests. “They love that they can complete so much of it online on their own time. It’s tailored to their needs and lifestyle.” By investing their time and energy now, she says, “it will help put their careers on the fast track and enable them to move forward into the jobs they want.”
It’s important for fellows and residents to know that we are there for them regardless of what direction their careers take, Dr. Morton observes. “Some go out and do other things and then come back to post-acute and long-term care. We need to be open to these colleagues and guide them through the Core and their pursuit of their CMD,” she says. “I get texts from people who graduated years ago and say, ‘I’m going to do nursing homes.’ Life changes, and we need to be there to help when this happens.”
The best way to get students and young practitioners excited about the field and interested in pursuing their CMD, Dr. Morton offered, is “to get them out there and enable them to see a variety of patients. They often have misperceptions that all facilities are nursing homes. They don’t know all of the sites of care. Helping them see that is the first thing.” She suggests, “Let them interact with the ‘social butterflies’ in the facility—practitioners and staff who are really thriving and passionate. Let them experience the complexity of care and the clinical challenges we encounter. This can be really eye-opening.”
When individuals see through the misconceptions and experience patient care in this setting, Dr. Morton says, “They often share our excitement for this work, and they want the CMD to help take them to the next level.”