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Leadership development in New Zealand and Australian medical schools


Oscar Lyons - 2019

Background: Leadership is a core competency of doctors. However, specific learning outcomes for leadership are often not well defined in medical school curricula. This article uses New Zealand (NZ) and Australian medical school curricula as a case example for conducting a needs analysis of leadership learning outcomes.

Aims: To identify which elements of medical leadership development are already met by Australian Medical Council (AMC) Outcomes for Graduates, which elements are missing, and which missing elements might reasonably be included in prequalification curricula in NZ and Australia. 

Methods: The Medical Leadership Competency Framework (MLCF) was selected as the reference framework for a general needs analysis of leadership development in the AMC curriculum. To identify curriculum gaps, we first assessed the achievability of MLCF Domains at an undergraduate level. We then considered whether the AMC Outcomes for Graduates would satisfy each MLCF Domain. Where MLCF Domains were judged unachievable at the undergraduate level, we considered whether foundations were sufficiently laid for future development. 

Results: Five of eight (63%) undergraduate MLCF Domains and 7 of 12 (58%) postgraduate domains were found to be already satisfied by the AMC Outcomes for Graduates. Some key elements of leadership as described in the MLCF are not yet encapsulated in the AMC Outcomes for Graduates. Two particularly notable absences are audit and quality improvement. 

Conclusions: Leadership is multidimensional. Some dimensions may be more appropriately learnt after medical school. There are, however, significant gaps in current curricula in Australia and NZ as defined by the AMC. These could be met more effectively using the MLCF.

Read more at: Leadership development in New Zealand and Australian medical schools: needs analysis

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