Tuesday, July 12, 2016
by Christian Sinclair
Congrats to all of the 200+ new attending hospice and palliative medicine (HPM) physicians who completed fellowship at the end of June. We've already compiled advice on how to be the best physician you can be, but now you are probably starting to think about passing the HPM boards come November 7th, 2016*. (Same goes for those fellows who finished in 2015, since the board exam is on a two-year cycle.)
You will find some good information on the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) subspecialty certification page. But beyond knowing the blueprint and areas covered by the exam, what you can you tangibly do to help ensure you pass the boards?
First, go back to your fellowship. Talk to your faculty and mentors about their own experience if you have not already. Review the talks and educational opportunities you had during your fellowship. You have good, free accessible educational materials, so use them.
Second, make the most use of the free stuff out there! In 2012, Pallimed and Geripal writers** got together to make board prep questions based on articles covered by the two blogs. If you do not have your copies of Blogs to Boards, then get them here now! The first PDF has just the questions so you are not tempted to peek. The second PDF has the questions with fully referenced answers and explanations so you can understand the concepts better. If you are a fellowship and want to use these questions, please go ahead, they are open access. Share, share, share. Just a bit of caution, these questions are four years old, and we have not revised it, so if you find anything out of sorts, please let us know. But, hey it is free and written by "well-respected" bloggers, so it's got that going for it, which is nice.
If you have time and some new attending money to spend, then you have a lot of options. The AAHPM Intensive Board Review Course is in two weeks. They have great faculty lined up and you will likely pick up some things you didn't necessarily catch in fellowship. I'll be there in Pittsburgh attending some of the other Summer Institute offerings, so if you are going stop me and say hello! Other board review courses are being offered by MD Anderson (I'll be there too, teaching this time!) and Mt. Sinai both in September. I don't know of any on the West Coast.
If your travel is all locked up because of your new job, then you may be interested in the newly released (this week!) HPM PASS 3rd edition. I have done both previous editions of HPM PASS, and will be getting the third edition soon. There are 150 questions so as a member it is a little over $1 per question which is a steal considering how freakin' hard it is to write good questions (See Blogs to Boards above).
Some other good tips:
- Review the archives of PC-FACS (available in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management and through AAHPM)
- Review FAST FACTS available from the Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin (PC-NOW) - How many should you review? At least the 50 Essential Fast Facts, but hey you have several weeks so devour as many as you can.
- While you are at PC-NOW, check out the Fast Fact Quiz (and archives) - More free questions!
- Read the UNIPAC series, especially the book on Hospice to make sure you get your Medicare Hospice basics down. Sometimes these important issues can get lost in fellowship training.
Any of the nearly 7,000 board certified HPM physicians have any other good resources and tips? Share them in the comments below.
*Allopathic boards test date. The 2016 CAQ for DOs dates are not readily available. Does anyone know when they are?
**Makowski, Tatum, Rosielle, Widera, Sinclair
Christian Sinclair, MD, FAAHPM is a board-certified hospice and palliative medicine physician at the University of Kansas. If anyone wants to do something new with Blogs to Boards, he is all ears! Full disclosure, he is the current President of AAHPM, but he does not get a cut of any of the AAHPM items he is recommending above. They are truly great options. Just wanted to be clear. Also, I have nothing to do with the Board test questions (and neither does AAHPM by the way).
Illustration Credit: Christian Sinclair, original image from Caddyshack