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Described the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that combine to enable residents and fellows to demonstrate behaviors that help assure effective leadership performance in real-world clinical situations

Statistical results with recommendations to health system leadership

Statistical results with recommendations to health system leadership 2

[Title Here, up to 12 Words, on One to Two Lines]


Day by day increasing awareness about the importance of leadership in healthcare, our understanding of the competencies of effective leadership is still not increasing. There is a concept used know as mapping approach which is defined as a blend of qualitative and quantitative analysis of group processes to produce a visual composite of the group’s ideas to identify stakeholders’ mental model of effective healthcare leadership, clarifying the underlying structure and importance of leadership competencies

Keywords: core competencies, healthcare leadership, medical education, mental models, mixed methods research


Healthcare leadership is a skill that must be and can be intentionally teach. Further, the literature review provided information on healthcare leadership attributes and content we used to guide the discussion to the semi-structured focus group interview questions.

Focus groups

Three focus groups were carry out with a total 19 participants, many being clinical faculty with administrative or leadership roles. From the 39 healthcare leadership attributes identified through the literature review, the focus groups’ work led to a set of 33 competency statements that represent important aspects of healthcare leadership (Supplementary material). These statements formed the basis for the card-sorting task. Each one of the statements:

1. Described some of the fundamental knowledge, skills, or attitudes related to leadership (influencing others) in a healthcare setting

2. Represented the basic competencies that may be demonstrated by successful physician leaders, regardless of their work setting

3. Described the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that combine to enable residents and fellows to demonstrate behaviors that help assure effective leadership performance in real-world clinical situations

Card sorting task.

Approximately 200 faculty (attending physicians and non-physician professionals) and learners (medical students, residents, and fellows) were recruit via email to participate in the card sorting exercise. Ninety-two participants responded (46 percent) (22 medical students, 29 physicians-in-training, 25 attending physicians, and 16 non-physician professionals). Sixty percent were men, and two-thirds reported prior formal leadership training. Table 1 presents a basic summary of the participants in the card-sorting task. Table 2 summarizes the mean values for importance of the top competency statements.

Hierarchical cluster analysis.

Through hierarchical cluster analysis, the competency statements fell into five domains. We labeled four of the domains based on the predominant themes of the competency statements in those domains Integrity, Teamwork, Critical Thinking, and Emotional Intelligence. A fifth domain comprised a set of low-rated competency statements for which no unifying theme could identify.

Mixed methods analysis

Mixed methods analysis of the quantitative and qualitative data resulted in two additional competency themes for the healthcare leadership model. We used the qualitative input from the focus groups and the card sorting comments to separate Patient Centeredness and Selfless Service from the Emotional Intelligence domain

The focus group affirming that Patient Centeredness is a unique, defining component found in effective healthcare leaders was confirm through feedback and experience we received when testing early versions of the model in leadership education settings. We concluded that Patient Centeredness is more than a competency for healthcare leadership; it is a core principle.

It also identifies the highly rated statement of “Communicating Effectively” (originally clustered in the Integrity domain) as essential to each domain, and not a separate competency. Similarly, “Pursuing Excellence”, although highly rated and part of the Critical Thinking domain, is a statement that is an aspirational goal and, as such, a part of each competency.

Finally, we modified the graphic representation of the model based on its use in teaching students, residents, and fellows, along with the feedback we received from these learners and faculty. The resulting model features that the central core principle of Patient Centeredness is surround by the overlapping five core competencies. We recognize Emotional Intelligence, as the core competency that holds the other competencies together, and therefore it is position as the “keystone” in the model; if Emotional Intelligence is remove, the model will crumble. Integrity and Selfless Service are intentionally position at the base of the model; although they may be difficult to teach, they are extremely important to effective healthcare leadership and must be recognize and emphasize as essential “foundational” core competencies. Critical Thinking and Teamwork are position as the “framework core competencies”, holding the model together and overlapping with the other three competencies.


We designed a leadership model specific to healthcare using concept mapping. The research led to a model based on the core principle of Patient Centeredness and core competencies of Emotional Intelligence, Integrity, Selfless Service, Critical Thinking, and Teamwork. We have found this model useful for teaching leadership skills, and are currently designing a relevant evaluation instrument.


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Cochran J, Kaplan GS, Nesse RE. Physician leadership in changing times. Healthc (Amst) 2014;2(1):19–21.

Shanafelt TD, Gorringe G, Menaker R, et al. Impact of organizational leadership on physician burnout and satisfaction. Mayo Clin Proc. 2015;90(4):432–440. 

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Majmudar A, Jain AK, Chaudry J, Schwartz RW. High-performance teams and the physician leader: an overview. J Surg Educ. 2010;67(4):205–209.

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