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10 September 2021
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Junior doctor leadership: How employers and supervisors can enable and encourage

By Dr Katie Wallace, Dr Euan Harris, Dr Rammina Yassaie and Dr Hannah Baird

The necessity of leadership in healthcare has been demonstrated through much published research and experience, as described in the Francis report. In reviewing the evidence, we conclude good leadership enables reduced patient mortality, better patient satisfaction and organisational financial performance, improved staff wellbeing and engagement as well as reduced absenteeism and staff turnover.  In recognition of this the NHS aspires to collective leadership, ie creating cultures within which people are empowered to lead in all areas, at all levels.  We all have a duty to inspire, enable and nurture leadership development for every colleague, to allow excellent care to thrive.

Leadership is a competency required in the various curricula of trainee doctors of all specialities. Yet leadership experience is ill defined and the responsibility of identifying and accessing opportunities lies with the trainee, in contrast to the acquisition of clinical skills. The 70:20:10 model describes how leadership skills are developed, whereby 70 per cent of leadership development is acquired within hands-on experience of work, compared to 10 per cent through formal teaching. As described in Health Education England’s report, Leadership development for doctors in postgraduate medical training, we need to create a workplace that invites and enables leadership development. The FMLM Trainee Steering Group (TSG) advocate on behalf of junior doctors and in this report we recommend actions for employers and supervisors to undertake in the design and implementation of trainee roles to enable leadership development.

These recommendations are defined through original work and review of other published works. The TSG conducted a survey of FMLM members and attendees at the Leaders in Healthcare conference, 2019. This is presented here with the findings of a multi-professional listening exercise conducted in 2019 and discussion in a workshop at the Future Leaders conference in Yorkshire and Humber, 2021.  Our findings are presented as key recommendations, examples of good practice and further discussion points.

Download the report

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