Help with your boards and so much more
Boards and Beyond returns for exam prep and career guidance.
F084 – Boards and Beyond
1-3 p.m. | Sunday, March 10
Ready for what’s beyond residency? Take the time to prepare and learn from others during Sunday’s session, F084 – Boards and Beyond. The session was so popular in 2023, it’s returning for the 2024 AAD Annual Meeting.
Morgan Murphrey, MD, MS, will lead a panel of speakers who have forged unique paths in dermatology and are poised to share practical insights. Speakers represent dermatology in academics, private practice, and more. These are individuals who know that most residents and early-career dermatologists often report feeling inadequately prepared for the non- dermatologic aspects of medical practice, Dr. Murphrey said.
“The focus of dermatology residency training is understanding the skin, which is a large task in and of itself. Residents typically work in academic settings, where clinics have extra time built in for learning and discussion. There is typically additional time set aside for didactics or research pursuits,” she said. “However, residents do not typically experience the business or administrative side of dermatology.”
Some residents, for example, do not have exposure to coding and reimbursement. And because residency is typically associated with a university system, many residents have little experience with other practice settings, such as private practice. These factors result in residents and early career dermatologists who may not have adequate preparation for the non-academic aspects of medical practice, Dr. Murphrey said.
This session will briefly review the style and structure of the board exam, as well as relevant post-residency requirements (i.e., maintenance of certification requirements).
Participants will have an opportunity for a panel-like discussion with the speakers during the last 20 minutes of the session.
Getting the basics
The session is designed to prepare residents for the format of the American Board of Dermatology Board Examination, explore career and alternative career paths in dermatology, and provide tips and tricks for considering post-residency plans and early-career advice.
“Dermatology Board Examination is a day-long exam, which can be taken at a testing center or online, similar to the CORE exams. The test is broken into four blocks of 50 questions. Each block is allotted 94 minutes, and there are breaks during the exam. The questions are multiple choice,” Dr. Murphrey said.
Additionally, she said post-residency certification is done through the CertLink program. Each quarter, residents receive six core dermatology questions, and three elective questions based on the topic of their choosing. They also receive four article-based questions, typically based on two articles. Test-takers are given 10 minutes per question, and can reattempt incorrect questions in subsequent quarters, Dr. Murphrey said. This differs from the older re-certification exam, which was required every 10 years.
Where will your career take you?
Residents and early-career dermatologists have employment choices in many diverse areas. Some professionals may be more interested and better suited in private practice or academics, where others migrate to serving patients in rural areas.
“For many dermatologists, there are opportunities to find a ‘niche’ or further area of interest, and build their practice around that specifically,” Dr. Murphrey said. “For example, some dermatologists focus on hair and hair loss, others on pediatric patients, oncodermatology, melanoma, and pigmented lesions. Some dermatologists primarily practice in a research setting, and others work in industry...the list goes on. Our session will aim to give you a better sense of the various avenues of dermatology that can be explored.”
Ultimately, Dr. Murphrey said, the session goal is to offer a roadmap for those who are approaching their final training examination. It is meant to help residents and early-career dermatologists who are seeking inspiration and advice about their dermatology journey.
“As a dermatology resident or fellow, the post-training career hunt can be daunting. Entering our own paths may feel overwhelming. The goal of this session is to share experiences and offer insight for those who are considering how best to approach their future career,” she said.