Physicians climbing a mountain, becoming a physician leader
Physicians climbing a mountain, becoming a physician leader

Becoming a physician leader

Read PracticeLink articles from Stephen Leggitt
Stephen Leggitt

Table of Contents

The role of a physician, much like the overall landscape of the healthcare industry as a whole, is in a constant state of growth and evolution.  Physicians who desire to blend proven clinical expertise with their natural leadership skills often find themselves taking the next logical step: becoming a physician leader.

Understanding the role of a physician leader

No matter the specifics of the healthcare facility, there will always be an undeniable need for those in leadership positions.  While mastering your particular medical area of interest is a great first step, a physician leader also has responsibilities that extend well beyond the scope of their chosen specialty.  A commitment to innovation, building and maintaining a strong team, advocating for both physicians and patients and guiding the overall policy and outlook of a healthcare facility are all standard duties for the physician leader.

Cultivate leadership skills

Developing the skills required of a physician leader in the healthcare industry is something that can be done immediately, whether you are pre-med or in the final stages of your residency.  Practicing empathy, decisive decision-making, creating a positive workplace culture, adaptability to emerging technology, fostering emotional intelligence and multidisciplinary relationship management are all essential and should be cultivated as you progress along your journey to leadership.

Seek out diverse experiences

Broadening your scope as a medical professional beyond your specific field or focus will not only help you grow as a physician, but as a person as well.  And certainly, finding ways to grow your knowledge base outside the clinical setting will only help as you transition into a leader.  Participating in a community health initiative, volunteering for community health events, involving yourself in research projects, attending conferences and seminars and joining professional organizations will aid in broadening your perspectives and helping you grow into the physician leader you are destined to be.

Education never ends

In addition to possessing clinical and medical knowledge, physician leaders are also required to have a broader knowledge base of standard organizational and business practices.  Perhaps consider pursuing an additional advanced degree, such as an MBA or Master of Public Health. Likewise, attaining certifications or landing a fellowship could also help you master the non-clinical side of leadership.

Importance of community engagement

Whether it’s fundraising, participating in charity events, forming community outreach programs, providing donations or giving informational speeches regarding health and safety, a true leader not only makes a difference in the workplace, but in their community as well.

Commit to continuous growth and improvement

Once all the hard work, dedication and perseverance has paid off and you have earned the role of a physician leader, it does not mean your job is done.  In fact, you are just getting started.  Whether it is a groundbreaking new medical technology or astounding results from a clinical research study, the medical field and its components are in a constant state of evolution and day-to-day change.

Evolving along with shifting industry trends is paramount for the physician leader, and adapting to whatever surprise is around the corner is not just vital, but it is an essential requirement.  Adapting your leadership methodology and overall policy decisions based on feedback and desirable outcomes from strategic goal setting will aid in the long term success of your role as a physician leader.

Read PracticeLink articles from Stephen Leggitt

Stephen Leggitt

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