American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine — Doctors for Adults ®

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Protesting recertification

From the November 2000 ACP-ASIM Observer, copyright © 2000 by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine.

Although I recently retired, I would like to add my thoughts to the discussion on recertification. ("Protesting recertification," September ACP­ASIM Observer, page 2.)

Because I was fortunate to pass the board exam in 1961, I was never required to recertify. Like many in the academic environment, however, I studied MKSAP and accepted the challenge of recertification in 1974. As much as I enjoyed reading MKSAP, I came to despise the time I spent trying to memorize the esoterica that I expected would constitute most of the recertification exam. When I passed, I was relieved not only because of my accomplishment, but also because I knew I would not have to take the exam again.

I quickly forgot most of the memorized material that did not apply to my private practice and my role as an educator. I vowed to never again spend my time on such a nonproductive effort. I continued to keep abreast of medical knowledge by reading, making rounds and attending lectures, conferences and meetings. This approach enabled me to advance my career in academia and maintain the respect of my patients and peers.

To this day, I'm glad that I do not have to take the recertifying exam. I sincerely regret that my younger colleagues must undergo this onerous ordeal on a regular basis.

Recertification should be required only when recommended by a department of medicine chairman and executive committee. Their knowledge of an individual as a competent, caring, compassionate physician should suffice. *

George Dermksian, FACP
New York

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