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    Why Doctors Need Leadership Training?

    Why Doctors Need Leadership Training?

    The field of medicine involves superior leadership. Almost all the physicians are required to undertake various leadership responsibilities throughout their career. However, different from other occupations that require managerial skills, physicians are neither taught how they can lead nor the rewards that one can reap if he/she is a good leader. Although medical institutes consider leadership to be an important medical competency skill, but it is hardly taught or reinforced during the training phase.

    Today, many evidences favor that leadership and management skills have a strong influence on both healthcare and patient outcomes. It is now becoming clear that leadership skills need to be made part of the medical and residency curriculum.

    In majority of the professions, individuals who demonstrate great leadership skills are the ones who take bigger leadership roles in their respective domain. When it comes to medicine, physicians who manage and direct teams in the start of their career are the ones who gradually rise and take bigger roles.

    During the first few years of graduate medical training or residency, resident physicians lead their teams of junior residents as well as other paramedic staff without taking any formal managerial training. This essentially means that first year resident should not take over the duties of second year resident. Similarly, second year residents should not try to take the responsibility of third year residents and henceforth. As every step requires more management, responsibility and knowledge, physicians need to take one step at a time to learn and evolve at a steady pace.

    While medical trainees spend a great amount of time learning about anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, but there are fewer avenues through which residents and physicians can learn fundamental leadership such as how to manage and lead a team, how to deal with complex situations, how to coach individuals and derive their growth trajectory, as well as conflict resolution.

    With advancements in the field of medicine, certain residency programs across the country are now designing career paths particularly for those interested in honing their managerial and leadership skills. However, these programs cater specifically to healthcare management related projects or managerial roles. Despite considerable progress, the medical curriculum still fails to consider that physicians require skills to lead and set a positive precedent. If programs are designed in such a manner that incorporates honing leadership skills then there are chances that people become better doctors and team players.

    Although not much attention has been given to developing leadership traits amongst employees but studies suggest that honing leadership skills has a profound effect on healthcare systems, patients and finances in general. For instance, those hospitals that have better management practices and a dynamic team of board of directors have shown to deliver better care and clinical outcomes including lower mortality rates. Moreover, better management practices are also directly proportional to better patient and financial outcomes. It is also believed that effective leadership has a positive impact on the wellbeing of physicians resulting in lesser burnout and improved satisfaction.

    These benefits are essential in the healthcare spectrum that helps in achieving better care for patients. Often, the high burnout rates amongst physician hamper their overall performance and productivity. When doctors are actually taught leadership, they tend to handle complex situations better, resolve internal conflicts, lead by example, and also nurture a positive environment that bolsters their productivity.