Background and objectives: We sought to develop and validate a self-assessment of foundational leadership skills for early-career physicians.
Methods: We developed a leadership self-assessment from a compilation of materials on health care leadership skills. A sequential exploratory study was conducted using qualitative and quantitative analysis for face, content, and construct validity of the self-assessment. First, two focus groups were conducted with leaders in medicine and family medicine residents, to refine the pilot self-assessment. The self-assessment pilot was then tested with family medicine residents across the country, and the results were quantitatively evaluated with principal component analysis. This data was used to reduce and group the statements into leadership domains for the final self-assessment.
Results: Twenty-two invited family medicine residency programs agreed to distribute the survey. A total of 163 family medicine residents completed the survey, representing 16 to 20 residency programs from 12 states (response rate 28.9% to 34.8%). Analysis showed important differences by residency year, with more advanced residents scoring higher. The analysis reduced the number of items from 33 on the pilot assessment to 21 on the final assessment, which the authors titled the Foundational Healthcare Leadership Self-assessment (FHLS). The 21 items were grouped into five leadership domains: accountability, collaboration, communication, team management, and self-management.
Conclusions: The FHLS is a validated 21-item self-assessment of foundational leadership skills for early career physicians. It takes less than 5 minutes to complete, and quantifies skill within five domains of foundational leadership. The FHLS is a first step in developing educational and evaluative assessments for training medical residents as clinician leaders.