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Leadership teaching in the undergraduate curriculum

Tomorrow's Doctors 2009 highlighted the importance of undergraduates acquiring leadership skills and set out learning outcomes required of medical students. The medical leadership competency framework was commissioned in 2006 by the Department of Health and jointly compiled by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, and the Academy for Medical Royal Colleges as part of a wider UK project called ‘enhancing engagement in leadership’. This framework lists the key competences that medical students require to become involved in improving and delivering future health services. It also maps these competences to the learning outcomes.

In a paper published in JRSM Short Reports, Sian Powell and Graham Easton design online questionnaire to explore current leadership teaching in an undergraduate curriculum, using the medical leadership competency framework (MLCF). Sixty-nine course leads were invited to participate in the questionnaire study. Course leads were asked whether they teach each MLCF competency, which teaching methods they use, and how long they spend teaching each competency.

There was a 78% questionnaire response rate (54/69). The authors were were then able to produce a map of current leadership teaching showing that all MLCF competences are taught to varying degrees across the curriculum. The tool does not however provide information on the quality of teaching provided, or what students learn.

Powell and Easton concluded that there is a strong emphasis on the development of teaching leadership skills to undergraduates in Tomorrow's Doctors. They commented that the design of a simple, electronic questionnaire will enable medical schools to map their current leadership teaching. This could help to inform further curriculum development and integration as well as signposting of learning opportunities.

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