Why Do Doctors Need Leadership Training?

Updated on January 13, 2020

Early in their careers, doctors take on an incredible amount of professional responsibility. New doctors regularly manage teams of medical professionals and staff with surprisingly little relevant leadership training. Medical leadership and good management skills have been linked to improved patient outcomes and higher hospital performance scores. 

However, many medical universities don’t spend much time focusing on teaching leadership skills to doctors. Doctors can improve their medical leadership abilities by taking training courses, such as those offered by a nonprofit organization started by Dr. Nazarian. 

Why is it so important for doctors to pursue medical leadership training? To be successful at your job, basic training is necessary. Physicians can gain the knowledge they need and develop best business practices in just one leadership training session. 

Here are just 3 reasons why a doctor should consider taking leadership training. 

#1 – Doctors with Good Leadership Skills Have Happier Patients

Hospitals with higher performance ratings display expert management skills and highly ranked directors. Studies show, these same hospitals often deliver a higher level of care to their patients. They also have better patient outcomes according to an article from Harvard Business Review. 

The medical leadership in highly ranked hospitals helps doctors to lead teams of professionals while coaching their staff to better outcomes. Doctors must partake in leadership training to achieve highly ranked practices with happier and healthier patients.

Most doctors are taught in medical school to focus on their clinical skills. This approach is effective, but sometimes leaves physicians without the necessary tools to manage dynamic relationships with staff. 

#2 – Leadership Skills Prevent Physician Burnout

Practicing medicine is a stressful field. It’s no surprise that many physicians experience burnout. Doctors often face career burnout due to the chaotic environment they work in. Improving medical leadership can help reduce physician burnout. This is done by building effective teams that address issues in the workplace.

Burnout causes physician shortages and poor patient outcomes. Thankfully, there are tactics to avoid burnout. Experts recommend focusing on finding a work-home balance, developing workplace teams that reward high performance, and allowing extra time for data entry outside of patient visits. 

Participating in leadership conferences and training may help doctors learn how best to address poor performance from staff and motivate members of their team. Dr. Drummond, in his book about avoiding burnout, recommends doctors take responsibility, get leadership training, and “become part of the solution” by working together with their staff in a positive way.

#3 – Training Is Financially Sustainable for Hospitals and Private Practice

Medical leadership training for doctors is financially sustainable. Currently, healthcare costs are high. Those of us in the medical field must focus on ways to keep costs at a sustainable level. Poor patient outcomes increase the cost. Physician burnout increases the cost. Therefore, poor management and a lack of medical leadership increase cost. As we search for ways to sustain hospitals and private practices financially, we must consider leadership training and education for doctors. 

Some states recognize the benefits of medical leadership training and offer professional conferences for doctors like the Arizona Medical Association physician leadership conference. These state conferences for medical professionals help reduce costs related to poor leadership within public hospitals. 

Nazarian Institute, an open forum for professional leadership training, claims that leadership skills are a big part of the “formula for success” and that building those skills are critical for success in medical practices. In this way, Dr. Nazarian is working to help doctors achieve financial sustainability in their practices.

Some medical universities, including Vanderbilt University and Uniformed Services University, have implemented programs to ensure medical students develop the necessary leadership skills. However, many universities do not have such programs and many doctors practicing now weren’t taught effective leadership skills. 

There are still options for doctors who wish to develop these skills. Nazarian Institute is one option for medical leadership training. They are a non-profit organization offering professional development for medical practitioners. 

Dr. Nazarian provides digital education, open forums, and “practice-changing knowledge.” They host an annual conference for professional development on topics like building medical leadership skills annually. According to the research, physicians must build medical leadership skills. Fortunately, there are many options for doctors to develop the leadership skills they need.

We Want to Hear from You!

What are your thoughts? Have you attended leadership training? Was it beneficial? Comment below and tell us about your experience. 

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