Enhancing medical students’ leadership skills through student-selected components
Historical context: The importance of effective leadership in the healthcare setting has become increasingly apparent through such high-profile NHS enquiries as the Francis Report into failings at Mid Staffordshire hospitals (Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Enquiry, 2013). These examples of failings in patient safety and care have brought about numerous attempts to improve healthcare quality through leadership and management initiatives.
The authors, a team of four medical students under the guidance of an academic tutor, aimed to design additional leadership and management learning resources to complement their university’s current undergraduate medical curriculum as part of this drive to improve patient care and safety.
Specifications of Project: A two-year Student Selected Component (SSC), spanning years 4 and 5 of the undergraduate medical course, was created to provide students with the opportunity to develop their medical leadership and management skills.
Discussion of Pedagogy/Practice: An action learning approach was employed to enable the authors to take control of their learning and to aid professional development. The flexibility of the university’s SSC model allowed for a variety of activities to be undertaken.
Implementation: Self-directed study combined with a seminar series, external speaker events, industry placements and self-development courses formed the basis of the SSC.
Evaluation: The authors judged the project’s success through continuation and increased recruitment to the SSC this academic year, and through the positive personal reflections of students having completed the pilot.
Lessons Learnt: The six key lessons identified related to: planning, communication, sustainability, pursuing opportunities, self-directed learning and ambition.
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