How To Be a Leader: A Course for Residents.
BACKGROUND:Physicians are required to assume a leadership role as part of their career. For most, this is not an innate characteristic and must be developed throughout their medical training. There are few residency courses designed to assist in the enhancement of these leadership skills. We created and implemented a novel course on leadership, utilizing weekly presentations designed to stimulate discussions and improve the leadership qualities of trainees. METHODS:Senior residents provided leadership lectures stimulated by assigned readings from the book "The Founding Fathers on Leadership." The traits and characteristics demonstrated throughout course readings and discussions were subsequently incorporated into everyday resident activities. Baseline and post-course survey responses were evaluated to assess changes in leadership qualities. RESULTS:Seven senior (postgraduate year (PGY) 3-5) participated as course leaders. All seven filled out pre- and post-course surveys. Seventeen junior residents (PGY 1-2) were involved as audience members. Significant pre- and post-course differences were noted in the following areas: feelings of increased encouragement of personal development (4.86 vs. 5.43, p=0.03); increased team participation in decision-making (4.00 vs. 4.57, p=0.03); increased ease of obtaining answers to difficult questions (4.57 vs. 5.23, p=0.047); increased team member work (4.86 vs. 5.71, p=0.047), and a sense of leading a more balanced life (3.86 vs. 4.43, p=0.03). CONCLUSION:The initiation of a novel leadership course for senior surgical residents led to an enjoyable experience, resulting in enhanced leadership skills for all participants. We believe this process resulted in a more cohesive, efficient, communicative, and supportive residency program.