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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 64-72

A pilot study of the implementation and evaluation of a leadership program for medical undergraduate students: Lessons learned

1 Medical Education Unit, BPS Government Medical College for Women, Sonepat, Haryana; GSMC-FAIMER Regional Institute, Seth GS Medical College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 GSMC.FAIMER Regional Institute, Seth GS Medical College, Mumbai; Office of Research and Medical Education Technology, N. K. P. Salve Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
3 GSMC-FAIMER Regional Institute, Seth GS Medical College, Mumbai; Department of Psychiatry, Topiwala National Medical College and B.Y.L. Nair Charitable Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
4 Medical Education Unit, BPS Government Medical College for Women, Sonepat, Haryana, India

Correspondence Address:
Sumita Sethi
Medical Education Unit, BPS GMC for Women, Khanpur, Sonepat, Haryana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.332959

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Background: Most Indian medical schools lack formal leadership training though students are expected to evolve into leaders. The Student Leadership Program (SLP) was designed and evaluated with an objective to incorporate and strengthen leadership skills in undergraduates and to initiate change in organizational practice through the development of a Student Leadership Society. Methods: The SLP was designed using best evidence guidelines in medical education. Competencies and learning outcomes were identified in four domains: reflective writing, self-management, team management, and experiential learning. A stepwise program was implemented over 6 months in which participants wrote reflections at the end of each program session. So as to gain objective evidence of behavioral change in participants in relation to the leadership training, their reflections were qualitatively analyzed and corresponding codes and themes were derived. Results: We describe the content and stepwise process of implementation of our pilot leadership program, which included 24 final-year students. Results of qualitative analysis are presented in relation to the domains of self-management, team management, and evaluation of experimental learning. Among the findings were: students viewed assertive skills training as the most powerful learning experience within self-management, and in team management, the session on “Myers–Briggs Type Indicator for understanding one's own leadership style” was seen as the most powerful learning tool, while the session on conflict management was the most difficult in this domain. A Student Leadership Society was instituted. Discussion: In this study, students' reflections helped us better understand factors (the “how” and “why”) that make leadership training more effective. The SLP, with a strong evidence base, achieved the intended learning outcomes. A Student Leadership Society was constituted as a networking platform to explore the long-term effects of leadership training on organizational practice. The content and process of our pilot leadership program and lessons learned through understanding of students' perspectives should be applicable to subsequent iterations of student leadership development programs here and in other settings.

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