My start at being a medical leader

The parts of the job. And the value of teaching.
September 26, 2013
The heart function clinic (for patients with heart failure) is now open!
April 15, 2017

Hi everyone.  It has been a long time since I last wrote.  I hope to engage you regularly again.  I am sincerely sorry for my absence.  And I enjoy communicating with all of you this way.

I have been very busy the past few years.  And I let things like this blog get away from me.  I have taken on new roles and responsibilities.  The most important is in my family – I have two little girls now.  Professionally, the most important new responsibility is my leadership role as head of cardiology at Lions Gate Hospital.

I stepped into this role when one of my senior partners retired.  It has really been a huge learning curve and set of new obstacles to overcome.  All in addition to my busy practice and family life.  And I do not get paid for any of this work I do on behalf of my group.  Which can be discouraging at times for sure.

But the flip side, is that this role offers huge opportunities to change the practice of cardiology where I work.  For the better.  To make improvements that will benefit patients and make a real difference.  Since I started a year and a half ago, I have been able to work with my partners, and fantastic nursing and administrative colleagues, to begin caring for critically ill cardiac patients ourselves, to move to our new office, to help reform our inpatient care at LGH, and to expand the diagnostic testing our office offers.  We are close to opening our heart function clinic, planned for late February 2017.  And my most rewarding activity has been to help two new colleagues – excellent physicians I knew when they were in training – get started and see them succeed brilliantly in their two practises.  They have done excellent work and I am very proud of them.  It is so gratifying to see them succeed and know that I played a small role in helping them get going.

Doing leadership work also requires a lot of different skills than being a doctor by yourself.  It has been quite a learning experience.  You have to anticipate your group’s needs.  It is unnerving to know that you are entering a critical negotiation, not just for yourself, but on behalf of all your colleagues too.  Conflict is sometimes necessary, but needs to be respectful and productive.  And you need to think of the system and all patients, not just your own.  So it has been quite a process thus far.  I have been very humbled at times. But I have enjoyed it and made progress too.  I am very optimistic for the future of our practice and our group, and most importantly, our service to our patients.

So, again I apologize for my absence from this blog.  I enjoy writing and will strive to do so occasionally.  I wanted to invite you to leave any comments about this topic, if you have any advice for me.  Have you ever faced any leadership challenges? When starting or later on?  What were they and how did you deal with them?  Did you find the work rewarding?  I would love to hear from you.

With best wishes for 2017,

John

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