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12 October 2018
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How to get involved with leadership and management as a student and foundation doctor

by Dr Christina Whitehead;

Engaging with leadership and management may feel like a daunting task as a student or junior member of staff. If you follow just a few of these 10 simple tips you will make an effective start, and be able to evidence that you are engaging with an essential part of your curriculum.

1)      Lead a QI or audit project

An important thing to realise as a junior doctor is that you have a leadership role every day on the wards. Many of us now also have community rotations which is a great setting to run an audit or quality improvement project and prove that it is possible to lead the way in improving patient care. Similarly, the vast array of extra-curricular activities available for medical students provide similar opportunities to hone leadership and management skills.

2)      Attend a conference

A great way to show your commitment to leadership is to attend a relevant course or conference, such as the FMLM and BMJ’s Leaders in Healthcare annual event.

3)      Student/junior doctor membership of a society

Many societies offer discounted rates for student membership or junior doctor management. Joining and engaging with these societies, such as the FMLM Trainee Steering Group, will give you information and opportunities to access and build your skills.

4)      Join the doctors mess committee / medical society

Having a formal role on a MedSoc or your local junior doctors committee should not be overlooked. Organising events such as socials or formal events can prove that you have the organisation and leadership abilities that are essential transferrable skills.

5)      Become a regional representative

Many societies, (such as the FMLM’s Trainee Steering Group, ASiT, or BUSOG to name a few) have a representative for each region of the UK. Keeping your eye out for opportunities on a society relevant to your interests is always a good idea.

6)      Organise an event for your colleagues

Whether this be a teaching session, a careers day, a workshop or a conference, having the initiation to plan a local or national event shows dedication and is a sign of developed leadership and management skills. Be sure to gain some feedback too that you can keep and reflect upon.

7)      Apply for the National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow Scheme

An opportunity to spend 12 months out of programme aimed to fast track doctors who have potential to develop as medical leaders. This can be done any time after FY2 – so always worth considering between your foundation years and specialty training, as well as later on. More information can be found on the FMLM website.

8)      Set up your own society

Setting up a society in medical school, no matter how small, is a way of developing your leadership and management skills. Going through that process will be a valuable way of gaining confidence as a leader and experience in managing others.

9)      Contact your hospital’s chief executive / medical director / medical student dean

Many hospital or medical school meetings may benefit from the voice of a medical student or junior doctor sitting in the room. Many of the leaders want to hear our views, and acting as a spokesperson will build experience and confidence.

10)  Engage on social media

The role of social media is becoming increasingly important when acting as a leader. Engage with your local hospitals, your medical schools and relevant societies such as the FMLM or TSG to stay up to date and be the first to hear about local and national opportunities. We can be found on Twitter using the handle @FMLM_TSG.

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