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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Leadership Dimensions of the Physicians Role: A Transitional Approach to Training in

While modern medicine and its institutions have been progressively and irrevocably shaped by technology, there remains a core task of helping people cope with the challenges and changes posed by physical threat, suffering, and loss. Physicians are in complex leadership roles within these contexts. Some aspects of physician leadership are explicit and primarily technical in nature (e.g., constructing diagnoses, writing orders for medications). Many aspects, however, are fundamentally social and implicit (e.g., guiding a family through difficult choices near the end-of-life). Although the leadership dimensions of the physicians role may be obvious to an observer, traditional medical education does not offer formal training for this facet of a physicians role. Physicians typically acquire leadership skills through observation, trial and error with little or no reflection and conceptualization of principles. This chapter describes a seminar designed to teach Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologists about the psychological, social and organizational aspects of pediatric hematology/oncology through reflection and analysis of the leadership dimensions of their role. The seminars theory base and design is rooted in the Tavistock tradition of group relations training and incorporates basic elements of transitional thinking and the transitional approach to change. This seminar may offer a model of training for other health related disciplines.