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How should medical schools prepare medical students for leading the NHS?
  1. Simisola Elizabeth Oke
  1. Correspondence to Simisola Elizabeth Oke, St George’s University of London, London SW17 0RE, UK; simi_oke{at}


Background Good medical leadership is vital for the delivery of high-quality patient care; however, medical education in the UK has failed to adequately reflect this. While traditional training programmes focus predominantly on preparing students to be good clinicians, they fail to prepare students to be equally good leaders.

Aims Prepared for, and subsequently winning, the FMLM Medical Student Essay Prize, this paper looks to offer practical recommendations for the design of an undergraduate curriculum that will help prepare students for leading the National Health Service (NHS).

Methods Using the four core behaviours outlined in The Leadership and Management Standards for Medical Professionals and the Medical Leadership Competency Framework, this paper derives four themes and four practical methods that can be used to integrate leadership into the undergraduate medicine programme.

Results There are four key themes of leadership that must be addressed within a medical leadership programme: self, team, system and responsibility. In line with these themes, four recommendations were designed: (1) self- introduce self-reflection portfolios supplemented by goal-setting exercises. (2) Team—supplement clinical placements with leadership placements which offer opportunities to shadow NHS leaders. Additionally, extend ‘Objective Structured Clinical Examinations’ to include leadership assessment stations for appraising student leadership progress. (3) Design an e-learning tool that addresses wider strategic and political issues affecting the health service. (4) Responsibility—offer service improvement projects and service auditing opportunities during placements.

Conclusion These recommendations offer medical schools realistic ways to integrate medical leadership into the curriculum, thus helping them prepare students to lead the NHS.

  • clinical leadership
  • leadership assessment
  • medical leadership
  • medical student
  • career development

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  • Funding This report was supported by the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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