Is there a role for ‘teaching’ leadership and management?
There is more and more emphasis on doctors to develop their leadership and management skills, but how do we do this and when is the right time for it to be done?
We know that consultants are encouraged to attend management and leadership courses to help gain their CCT, but by that time it may be too late and elementary mistakes may have already been made.
Feedback from the 3rd National NHS Leadership meeting held by the Clinical Leadership Forum was overwhelmingly in favour of helping junior doctors develop leadership skills earlier in their career.
91% of attendees felt that medical schools should be doing more to teach medical students about leadership and, when asked how they suggested this should be done, 78% said it should be incorporated into the core curriculum, 67% voted for special study modules, 33% suggested an intercalated BSc, and the rest suggested a clinical attachment. 68% of attendees also felt that their local education training bodies should be doing more to help their trainees develop their leadership skills.
In fact steps towards this have already begun. The Barts Leadership and Management in Medicine society came and spoke at the group’s 2nd meeting in 2015 – they have set up a student-selected component within their curriculum and feedback has been extremely positive.
To make education of this mandatory would be a contentious issue however. Although 60% of attendees felt that doctors should be expected to evidence leadership in their portfolios, when asked ‘Should all doctors be involved in management?’ the response was more evenly split with 48% yes, 44% no and the rest as ‘don’t know’.
The current climate requires more and more junior doctors to draw upon their abilities in leadership and management, which at present seems to have developed through experience and osmosis. Is this the time to be taking steps to formalise how we develop these skills, to make us more equipped to negotiate the treacherous waters of clinical medicine and surgery when we do become consultants, or indeed a partner in a GP practice?
General Surgery Trust Registrar, Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust