The Physician Leader is Here to Stay

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The roles of a physician leader are vast and becoming ever more critical for improving the quality of health care. Read on to learn why this position is so important, and what responsibilities are the core of healthcare leadership today.

Information Management and Sharing

Advances in medicine and new scientific discoveries mean there is a tremendous amount of information available to physicians that would allow them to enhance the level of patient care they provide. The role of a physician leader is related to sharing this critical information with others involved in patient care, a task largely based on relationship building. A physician leader must build trust within his or her team in order to effectively coach team members towards important changes. If you are a physician working toward your healthcare business management degree, keep the following in mind

Team Building is at the Core of Physician Leadership Responsibilities

In order to spread new concepts critical to the advancement of healthcare, physician leaders must be viewed as trusted sources of information by other healthcare professionals. Trust is built when a leader is able to actively listen to the needs of team members, provide productive feedback and coaching, and mediate conflict between team members. Honesty, reliability, professionalism and emotional maturity are all personality traits present in the best leaders. Team members are much more likely to implement changes in a rapid, lasting manner when suggestions are delivered in such a way as to encourage a sense of empowerment, rather than in an authoritative or punitive fashion.

Specific Roles of the Physician Leader

In addition to any clinical roles physician leaders may retain after accepting a leadership position, they are typically responsible for the following tasks:

  • Planning and facilitating meetings with team members. Leaders must ensure that the timing of meetings allows important team members to be present. During each meeting, the leader must ensure the agenda is followed and that all team members feel heard. Mediation between team members may be required if a conflict has arisen and cannot be resolved independently.
  • Providing feedback and/or coaching one on one. Not all issues can be addressed within a group setting. The role of a leader includes providing positively phrased, encouraging feedback and/or one on one coaching as needed. Effective communication is an art form that makes all the difference in how people respond to feedback. Physician leaders will be well served to learn this skill thoroughly.
  • Working with members of the administration team to develop and/or change official codes of conduct. Every hospital should have an official code of conduct (also referred to as a policy or standard) in place, but implementing changes in healthcare may require alterations to this code on an as-needed basis.

Learn Skills Needed for Healthcare Leadership Roles

Physician leaders are here to stay, and they play a critical role in effectively and efficiently improving the quality of healthcare by taking on coaching, information sharing and encouragement to team members as needed. To learn more about leadership in healthcare, visit the George Washington University online.