Assessment of Clinical Leadership Training Needs in Senior Pediatric Residents

J Med Educ Curric Dev. 2021 Jan 22;8:2382120520988593. doi: 10.1177/2382120520988593. eCollection Jan-Dec 2021.


Introduction: Although clinical leadership in physicians is associated with improved healthcare, leadership training is rarely integrated into residency training. Our objective was to perform a comprehensive needs assessment of our pediatric residents' existing leadership experiences and knowledge and to identify training gaps within our program.

Methods: First, we held focus groups with senior pediatric residents to understand their clinical leadership experiences and identify training needs. Notes were transcribed and independently coded by 2 researchers, with thematic saturation achieved. Next, we focused each session on 1 leadership content area identified from the aforementioned themes to better understand the specific training needs for each topic.

Results: Four major themes were identified: (1) Effective and timely communication with supervisors, learners, ancillary staff, and patients is indispensable in promoting safe patient care, avoiding conflict, and preventing misunderstanding. (2) Training in teaching methods is desired, especially gaining the skills needed to teach various levels of learners, in different settings and under time constraints. (3) Time management, availability of resources, and team logistics were often learned through trial-and-error. (4) Self-care, self-acceptance, emotional regulation, and peer debriefing are relied upon to manage negative emotions; rarely are resilience and wellness strategies employed in "real-time."

Conclusion: Senior residents currently face gaps in clinical leadership training and may benefit from additional instruction in content areas related to these 4 themes. Our next steps are to utilize the identified themes to develop a longitudinal and skills-based clinical leadership curriculum to address the gap in graduate medical education.

Keywords: Needs assessment; clinical leadership; focus groups; graduate medical education; leadership curriculum; professional development; resident leadership.