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A long and winding road: non-traditional routes into medical leadership
  1. Steve Gulati1,
  2. Christiane Shrimpton2
  1. 1 Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2 NHS Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland, UK
  1. Correspondence to Steve Gulati, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK; s.gulati{at}


Introduction Clinicians enter the medical profession through a variety of routes. This paper explores how non-traditional routes into the medical profession can follow through into subsequent medical leadership practice, influencing issues of confidence, self-image and assumptions about leadership as a concept.

Method The first-person reflections of a doctor who entered the profession and the National Health Service from the German system and with a non-standard background are considered. We then discuss how those involved in leadership education can use diversity as a developmental tool. The article starts and ends with personal reflections and observations from a Consultant Opthalmologist, interposed with insights from the pedagogy of leadership development by a University academic.

Conclusions We conclude that medical leadership development can be enriched through recognising the value that non-traditional routes in clinical leadership can bring, and that educators can use the leverage of difference and diversity to create positive loops of development activity.

  • medical leadership
  • learning loop
  • career development
  • role modeling
  • career path

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  • Contributors This article was conceived by SG. CS provided the reflective context of her personal medical leadership journey, SG provided the educational context and link to leadership development. The authors collaborated equally on capturing the key point of the article.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.