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20 October 2015
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Leadership in military medicine and beyond

Captain Simon Tallowin, Regional Trainee Representative for Armed Forces

I was pleased to have the opportunity to talk at the FMLM Armed Forces Regional Conference on ‘leadership in military medicine and beyond’ on 29 September. I have attended a number of similar events in my role as the Armed Forces trainee representative for FMLM but what struck me about this particular conference was the genuine diversity of the participants. 

The event was organised as a collaborative effort between the military medicine section of the Royal Society of Medicine, FMLM, and the Institute of Healthcare Management. As a result it brought together clinicians, medical and non-medical managers from across the spectrum of military and civilian healthcare. 

Everyone I listened to and spoke with during the conference offered a different perspective. There were medical students and junior doctors, senior military leaders and NHS managers. The talks I found particularly interesting were those delivered by experts from outside healthcare. Vice Admiral Duncan Potts gave us insights into training military leaders and the fact that ‘absolutely nothing’ was different in the needs of medical leaders and military leaders. 

Reverend Michael Croft also delivered an excellent talk, challenging delegates to reflect on their own personal leadership styles. It was clear that many in the audience had never considered whether they were a ‘gardener’ or a ‘shepherd’ before, and it was a bridge too far for some senior military leaders, prompting some heated debate! Which to me really symbolised why the day was such a success – it prompted us all to look at leadership from completely different perspectives, share experiences, challenge our thinking, and maybe even adapt the way we approach healthcare challenges in the future.

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