Dr Verchere has captured the frustration and challenges of the role of a department head in BC [Who wants to be a department head? BCMJ 2013;55:134]. What are the problems that need to be solved to change this situation?
Firstly, physicians are trained as clinicians, not managers or leaders. Leadership is a science that needs training, cultivation, and experience—as much so as medicine. While the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Society of Physician Executives provide many leadership courses to help aspiring physician leaders, we can start to change this culture by building leadership training into medical school and residency curriculums.
Influence is a vital quality that physician leaders require in order to improve the system. We can only influence those with whom we have relations. The longer the commitment, the more time to develop and show skills in negotiation, conflict resolution, project management, and process improvement. The longer the commitment, the more time to develop relationships.
Managers in the health authorities are under enormous pressure to maintain staffing, reduce overtime, control costs, improve productivity, and deal with the latest crisis. Their ability and time to work on system improvement is limited.
Lastly, the role of any medical leadership position requires a commitment of time and energy for which we are often not appropriately compensated. This needs to change, so that there is a financial incentive to pursue further training, build experience, and commit to long-term leadership goals.
In the right environment, with the appropriate training and experience, and with suitable compensation, physicians can combine clinical and leadership skills to influence how we deliver care to our patients, and be rewarded with the satisfaction of contributing to system improvement. It’s a slow and often frustrating process—but it’s worth it.
—Andy Hamilton, FRCP
Canadian Certified Physician Executive
Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee
of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally
accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
About the ICMJE and citation styles
The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.
An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.
BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:
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For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org