Delivering medical leadership training through the Healthcare Leadership Academy: a four year analysiS

Zarif, Azmaeen, Bandyopadhyay, Soham, Miller, George and Malawana, Johann (2024) Delivering medical leadership training through the Healthcare Leadership Academy: a four year analysiS. BMC Medical Education, 24 (1).

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Background: Formal leadership training is typically targeted at senior health professionals. The Healthcare Leadership Academy (HLA) was formed in 2016 to provide a leadership programme for students and early-career health professionals. This study analyses the effectiveness of the HLA scholarship programme as an intervention for improving interest in and preparing scholars for future leadership roles. Methods: Survey data was used to assess the effectiveness of the HLA Scholarship program in cultivating leadership development. Questions required either multiple-choice, free text, ranking or Likert scale (‘strongly agree’, ‘agree’, ‘neither agree nor disagree’, ‘disagree’, ‘strongly disagree) responses. Participants spanned six regions (London, Newcastle, Bristol, Belfast, Edinburgh, and Amsterdam) in four countries (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Netherlands). Descriptive statistical analyses were conducted, and insights were drawn from the open-ended survey questions using a leadership framework. Results: Seventy participants who underwent the course between 2016 and 2020 completed the questionnaire. Nearly all (99%) found that the training provided on the programme had equipped them to be more effective leaders, with 86% of respondents stating that they were more likely to take on leadership roles. Nearly all (97.1%) found the course to be either of good or very good quality. Nineteen insights were identified from free text responses that fitted under one of the four themes of the leadership framework: “optimising”, “resolving uncertainty”, “enhancing adaptability”, and “promulgating a vision”. Conclusions: Healthcare leadership is a non-negotiable component of healthcare delivery in the 21st Century. As healthcare professionals, it is our duty to be effective leaders confident and competent in navigating the increasingly complex systems within which we operate for the benefit of ourselves, colleagues, and patients. By accounting for known shortcomings and developing ameliorative measures, the HLA Scholarship programme addresses unmet needs in a structured manner to support effective long-term healthcare leadership development.

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