Leadership & Professional Development in Academic Medicine

By  |  June 19, 2019 | 

Becoming a leader in medicine is a unique process. I can’t think of another career where during ones training, regardless of how good you are at your job, you are automatically promoted to a more senior position each year! As you’ll recall, each July a new crop of interns shows up to our nation’s hospitals, thus elevating that years’ interns into the role of resident – the de facto leader of a team of 4-5 learners taking care of 15-20 highly complicated patients. And barring any catastrophe, everyone gets promoted! Sounds a little crazy, right?

And while we equip our trainees with more medical knowledge than what the world’s best doctors had 50 years ago, we rarely offer any training on how to manage or lead their team in this highly complicated endeavor. The analogy that comes to mind is handing over the keys to a racecar to a 14-year-old who has only watched their parents drive and ask them to win the Indianapolis 500. Probably not the best way to win that car race… or teach management and leadership skills to developing doctors.

Studies have shown that our modern medical training system does not provide sufficient leadership training opportunities. And while there are a growing number of training programs that offer specific leadership tracks, these programs are often filled with those who are specifically interested in a career in leadership or healthcare management. And, as was pointed out in a recent Harvard Business Review article, the establishment of dedicated tracks and training opportunities misses the inherent fact that to be a physician is to be a leader. Basically, everyone needs these skills, not just a select few. This all begs the question: In this day and age, how can physicians gain the needed leadership and management skills?

Unfortunately, even as physicians progress in their careers beyond residency, the opportunities to gain formal leadership experiences do not necessarily improve. The Society of Hospital Medicine does offer its annual Leadership Academy, but as we all know, it can be difficult to squeeze another conference into your already busy schedule.

The solution? Enter the Journal of Hospital Medicine’s new Leadership & Professional Development (LPD) series. In this series, lessons on leadership, mentorship, and leading change and professional development will be delivered in pragmatic and digestible pieces. Thus, each month you can have access to highly impactful and practical leadership pearls that can help you develop as a leader – no matter what stage in you are in your career or where you are located.

For this month’s #JHMChat on Monday, June 24 at 9 p.m. ET, we’ll be highlighting the role of leadership and professional development in academic medicine by focusing on two LPD articles. A quick taste of each one here:

  1. Hire Hard, Manage Easy: In this piece, Dr. Vineet Chopra explores the nuances of building a team that is both self-sustaining and will give you the best bang for your buck. Simply put, if you do the work on the front-end to hire the right person whose interests and desires align with the position, you will reap benefits on the back end.
  2. Know your TLR: What’s a TLR, you ask? Talking to Listening R As Dr. Sanjay Saint explains, the TLR is a leadership pearl that allows you to track how much you talk versus how much you listen. As he astutely points out, “When you are talking, you are not listening – and when you are not listening, you are not learning.” What’s the optimal TLR? You’ll have to read the article or join the conversation to find out.

We hope you’ll join us for an engaging #JHMChat this Monday, June 24 at 9 p.m. ET where we will explore these topics and more. No matter your stage of training or practice, there are always lessons to be learned in this area.

Not familiar with #JHMChat? Since October 2015, JHM has reviewed and discussed more than two dozen articles with many focusing on improving the value and quality of care we provide to hospitalized patients. Medical students, residents and practicing hospitalists are encouraged to join as we discuss a broad array of topics that affect the care of the hospitalized patient. It’s a great opportunity to meet others, learn and even earn free CME.

To participate, just type “#JHMChat” in the search box on the top right corner of your Twitter face page, click on the “Latest” tab at the top left of the page and join the conversation.

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About the Author: Charlie Wray

Charlie Wray
Charlie M. Wray DO, MS is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of California, Francisco (UCSF) and the San Francisco VA Medical Center. He completed medical school at Western University – College of Osteopathic Medicine, Internal Medicine residency at Loma Linda University, and a Hospital Medicine Research Fellowship at The University of Chicago. Dr. Wray’s research interests have focused on inpatient care transitions and care fragmentation in the hospital setting, overutilization of hospital resources, and the use of telemedicine to improve care for socially-vulnerable patients. Additionally, Dr. Wray is an Associate Editor and Digital Media Editor for the Journal of Hospital Medicine (JHM) – where he helped establish the use of Visual Abstracts and the Twitter-based journal club; JHMChat. Dr. Wray is also the Director of the newly developed JHM Editorial Fellowship. When not fulfilling these duties, Dr. Wray can often be found tweeting at @WrayCharles or trying to keep up with his two young boys.


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