Newly appointed consultant psychiatrists have reported that management and leadership is an area for which they are unprepared. Our aim was to evaluate the impact of a leadership development programme based on the principles of ‘action learning’ for higher trainees. A questionnaire survey was sent to 54 trainees and consultants who had attended the programme. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 15 participants using the concept of maximum variance sampling.
The relevance of the topics covered, the opportunity for free discussion and increased understanding of National Health Service policy were rated highest. At the end of a thematic analysis, themes were organised into four major categories: (a) lack of engagement with management during training; (b) the lasting impact of the leadership development programme; (c) understanding the larger organisational context; and (d) transition to consultant psychiatrist.
The findings suggest that programmes such as this can be successful in raising awareness and increasing engagement in medical leadership and management.
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