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Learning while leading: a realist evaluation of an academic leadership programme
  1. Shelly-Anne Li1,
  2. Ruth Chen2,3,4,
  3. X Catherine Tong3,5,6,
  4. Anne K Wong4,5,7,
  5. Teresa M Chan3,5,8
  1. 1Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3Office of Continuing Professional Development, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
  4. 4Academic Leadership Program, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
  5. 5Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  6. 6Department of Family Medicine, Waterloo Regional Campus, McMaster University, Waterloo, ON, Canada
  7. 7Department of Anesthesia, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
  8. 8Division of Education & Innovation, Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Teresa M Chan, Division of Education & Innovation, Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; teresa.chan{at}medportal.ca

Abstract

Introduction Many academic health centres and universities have implemented leadership development programmes; however, their potential impact in different contexts in healthcare remains unknown. We assessed the impact of an academic leadership development programme on the self-reported leadership activities of faculty leaders in their respective work contexts.

Methods Ten faculty leaders who participated in a 10-month leadership development programme between 2017 and 2020 were interviewed. The realist evaluation approach was used to guide deductive content analysis, allowing concepts related to what works for whom, why and when to emerge from the data.

Results Faculty leaders benefited in different ways depending on the organisational context (eg, culture) in which they reside and their individual contexts (eg, personal aspirations as a leader). Faculty leaders who have minimal mentorship in their leadership role gained an increased sense of community and belongingness with peer leaders and received validation in their personal leadership approach from the programme. Faculty leaders with accessible mentors were more likely than their peers to apply the knowledge they learnt to their work settings. Prolonged engagement among faculty leaders in the 10-month programme fostered continuity of learning and peer support that extended beyond programme completion.

Conclusions This academic leadership programme included participation of faculty leaders in different contexts, resulted in varying impacts on participants’ learning outcomes, leader self-efficacy and application of acquired knowledge. Faculty administrators should look for programmes with a multitude of learning interfaces to extract knowledge, hone leadership skills and build networks.

  • leadership assessment
  • medical leadership
  • learning

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

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Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

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Footnotes

  • Twitter @ShellyAnneLi, @XC_TongMD, @annekwong, @TChanMD

  • Presented at Li, S-A, Chen R, Tong XC, Wong AW & Chan TM. Learning to lead: Perspectives from the Faculty of Health Sciences Academic Leadership Program. Norman Education Research Day (virtual conference). (June 2020) Hamilton, ON. Poster session.

  • Contributors S-AL, RC, CT, AW and TMC listed on this manuscript contributed to the conceptualisation of the study, data collection, analysis, interpretation and drafting and critically reviewing the manuscript. All authors stand by this work and its academic rigour. All authors (and particularly TC) act as guarantors of the paper and take full responsibility for the work and the conduct of the study, had access to the data, and controlled the decision to publish.

  • Funding Research and Innovation Fund was awarded by the Continuing Health Sciences Education Program, which is now within the Office of Continuing Professional Development, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University.

  • Competing interests AW, CT, RC and TMC have COIs as they are employed by McMaster University. AW is the director of ALP. AW, RC and CT have participated in the ALP.

  • Patient and public involvement statement This study did not directly pertain to patient or public groups, and hence they were not involved in this study.

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

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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