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March 2021 President's Update: Education and Certification

By Currents Editor posted 03-02-2021 15:52


By Wade Smith, MD, PhD, FNCS

Education and Certification

Dear NCS Members,

Can you believe that it has already been a year in terms of the pandemic? Over the past year, each of us has had to change our lifestyles and adapt to our circumstances and environment. Whether that has meant staying home, wearing masks or social distancing, we’ve all adapted to make the most of an unprecedented and unpredictable year.

NCS also has spent the last year adapting to the pandemic and our changing landscape. Online, digital education has become more important than ever — and we know that educational products and the Emergency Neurological Life Support® (ENLS) certification program are ranked among the top five NCS member benefits.

We’ve been able to take the time of this past year to not only expand our product portfolio, but to find new ways to meet the needs of our diverse global membership. Not only is NCS proud to have a diverse membership in terms of location across the globe, but we’re pleased to have a membership that is so representative of the various job disciplines — NCS membership is currently 54% physicians, 30% nurses, 8% pharmacists and 8% residents and students.

From the development and rapid growth of the Advanced Practice Provider (APP) Orientation Course to support our APPs, to the incredible success of the brand new Pharmacology Orientation Course geared at pharmacists, online education that directly supports the unique roles our members play has been a key component of our success.

We also know that certification may be an essential part of your role, especially for our physicians and trainees, and NCS has worked to adapt our certification courses for everyone in new ways to allow for learning at home, in virtual small groups and online. The Essentials of Neurocritical Care, Brain Death Determination Course and our society’s signature program, Emergency Neurological Life Support® (ENLS), have seen immense success in online formats, both in terms of financial impact to NCS and in the ability of our members to learn and maintain certification, however is most comfortable to them. 

When offering products to advance the knowledge of our multidisciplinary society, the members have embraced them. We are getting it right. And, we are serving all of our audiences and ensuring all of our members are supported in their professional endeavors. As NCS continues to grow and remain financially healthy, the board of directors stands committed to investing in education as one of our core missions, especially since these products can help members maintain professional certification. NCS also is committed to conducting research later this year to continue to address the shifting educational products of our members and those within our field. 

So even a year later, in March 2021, we still find ourselves in a space of transition and growth. As we continue to navigate through the return to in-person gatherings, the rollout of a vaccine and more, NCS will continue to transition and navigate with you. We will keep adapting and working to meet your needs and the needs of our field.

If you have any ideas about a product or credential not currently offered, please contact NCS Executive Director Sharon Allen at or me at with your idea, and we will discuss its potential for development with the Educational Products Committee.

Best Regards,

Wade Smith, MD, PhD, FNCS
President, NCS Board of Directors
Professor of Neurology, UCSF


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