Registrar in intensive care and anaesthetics, Royal Brompton Hospital
Tim Dawes recently completed the MSc in Medical Leadership, a part-time programme taught at the RCP in London, and jointly delivered by the RCP and Birkbeck, University of London.
Like many trainees, as I have progressed through medical training I have become involved in several informal and formal leadership roles. The MSc in Medical Leadership provides an opportunity to understand leadership in a more structured manner with focused teaching from experts and tutor-led discussion groups. I found the structured approach with presentations and essays a great way to focus my learning, and the tutors flexible and understanding of the clinical, family and life commitments that we all juggle.
I was impressed by the variety of backgrounds in my peer group too – in specialty and seniority but also from different private and overseas healthcare systems and with different motivations for enrolling in the course. Peer discussion was a huge additional benefit of the course. This evolved as the course progressed and we got to know each other better. The programme also attracts impressive speakers who provide firsthand accounts, often very candidly, of how local and national leadership challenges have been tackled and overcome … or not!
The natural assumption is that a course in medical leadership is for those who see themselves as badged ‘leaders’ but I’d recommend the course to a much broader group. Nearly all healthcare roles involve working within a coordinated group with a common goal. Understanding how each of us sits within this relationship and how we provide helpful, effective contributions while balancing our lives in an ever-tighter system should be of interest to all of us.
My own role as an academic intensive care doctor involves daily challenges in efficient team working in both short and longer term efficacy. The course provides a window on how improvements in our approaches can deliver better care for our patients while also improving our own enjoyment and effectiveness within the system.