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9 December 2022
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Meeting FMLM's leadership commitment at South West London and St Georges – a fantastic place to be a trainee

By Dr Holly Kirwin and Dr Hannah Scanlon, with support from Dr Devina Maru, Deputy Lead for London, FMLM Trainee Steering Group

The FMLM Leadership Commitment for Junior Doctors was launched in September 2021 to improve exposure and opportunities for clinical leadership. Acknowledging Junior Doctors as future leaders is an important and often overlooked part of training and professional development. South West London and St Georges Mental Health Trust (SWLStG) has recently signed up to this commitment in recognition of their dedication to supporting the growth of junior doctors as leaders, as well as clinicians.

At SWLStG, we have more than 90 junior doctors working across our inpatient and community mental health services. This commitment outlines practical steps the Trust can take to support junior doctors to develop the leadership and management skills needed to deliver safe, high quality care for patients and provide effective support for teams.

As junior doctors, we are currently leading on the commitment with support from Dr Suhana Ahmed, Director of Medical Education at the Trust. The Leadership Commitment is arranged according to ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ criteria within the following sub-sections: opportunities, role-modelling, feedback, and recognition and time.

Opportunities - to access and engage with leadership in the workplace

We have compiled a list of leadership opportunities available within the Trust to create a portfolio. This is now easily available to all current and future junior doctors with access to the Trust intranet. The process of creating the portfolio has also highlighted areas that require further development, such as involvement of junior doctors in leadership recruitment.

Role modelling - to be visible and lead by example

Increasing the number of shadowing opportunities made available to trainees is a key objective. Having an approachable role model, someone you look up to and can turn to if you have questions or need any support, is essential. Members of the senior leadership team have been identified as being in a position to offer shadowing opportunities, and invitations to attend key management meetings, which can provide a valuable insight for trainees, have also been made available.

Feedback and recognition - to support self-awareness and development of leadership skills

We will be engaging with supervisors and exploring ways for trainees to be recognised for the leadership roles they take on, including formal feedback and certificates.

Time - to develop leadership skills and undertake leadership activities

Further work to identify how best to support trainees  in further developing leadership and management skills by encouraging the use of study leave and special interest time, so they can fully participate with training opportunities, is planned.

With the adoption of FMLM’s Leadership Commitment for Junior Doctors, and the increasing opportunities for leadership development, SWLStG is proving a fantastic place to be a trainee. We are excited about what our work will mean for our fellow trainees, both now and in the future!

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