Physician and Practitioner Leadership Education at Shore Medical Center

December 05, 2019

At Shore Medical Center, having skilled physicians and practitioners providing care in and outside the hospital is not enough.   Since the fall 2013, Shore, in collaboration with American Association of Physician Leadership (AAPL), has brought educational seminars to enhance the leadership skills of our physicians and practitioners within our walls, one of only two hospitals statewide to do so.  These seminars bring national leaders on topics important for practitioners to learn how to partner and align with the organization to understand and work on strategic initiatives together. 

Seminar topics include how to create quality, safety and efficiencies of care, how to manage conflict, communication skills, team building, creating a culture of accountability and high performance, practitioner well-being and business, health law and financial management.   Since the inception, Shore Medical Center and generous donations by Board of Trustee members, senior leadership and a number of the medical staff leaders have sustained the cost of the programs to allow for them to come to the practitioners at no cost.  Ed and Linda Kuehnle have been very significant donors from the onset and therefore the program has been memorialized in their name as the Education and Leadership Program continuing education series at Shore Medical Center in partnership with the AAPL.  

The programs were spearheaded by Dr. Jeanne Rowe, Chief Medical Officer at Shore with the first topic, “You are Not Just a Doctor Anymore.” The inaugural session attracted 57 staff members and subsequently a core group of about 15-20 practitioners have routinely attended at least one of the all- day sessions offered each year at Shore.  The hospital has offered three programs a year and they are presented in the fourth floor board room at the hospital, saving practitioners not only the cost of each seminar but the cost of travel, lodging and meals as well.  Each seminar provides for about 7-8 hours of CME and the opportunity to attain credits towards a Master’s degree in Management, Business, and Quality/Safety from prestigious programs such as USC, Carnegie Mellon, UMass and Jefferson.   

Recognizing the evolving role of the Advance Practice Nurse (APN) in the collaboration of clinical care for the patient, the programs opened to APNs in 2018. The most recent seminar, Crucial Accountability, led by trainer Stacy D. Nelson, set the goal for the day to teach the participants to discover what to watch for as a discussion runs its course, control emotions instead of jumping to harsh conclusions and to employ ways to be persuasive without being abrasive.   The focus for the AAPL over the years is to build on leadership skills that the practitioner does not get in their clinical training and the skills that are necessary for leaders of health systems of today and tomorrow. 

Feedback from seminar participants via a recent survey revealed that the seminars are valuable to practitioners.   Recently Judy Genova DNP and Dr. Jennifer Adigun presented to the Board of Trustees the results the survey which revealed nearly 93% of the participants gave the seminars a rating of high to extremely high on the benefit of the program. Another measure scored a perfect 100% across the board that they have a better practitioner experience at Shore as a result of the programs.  The practitioners appreciate the investment by Shore in the practitioner’s education and its link to success and thriving of the organization.

General Surgeon, Dr. David May, President of Shore Physicians Group said the AAPL seminars are pretty critical to the current as well as the emerging leaders at Shore. “What we learn at the seminars is not the type of education we are exposed to in medical school,” said Dr. May. “We have the opportunity to learn about necessary business skills, with topics like accounting and finance management.” He pointed out that physicians may have been recognized for their leadership skills in med school, what the seminars offer is helpful from a business standpoint especially for our new doctors who show a lot of promise. On a personal note, Dr. May said his interest in the seminars led him to complete an MBA through Temple University’s Fox Business School. “When you attend the seminars you begin to see where you may have some gaps and see where the courses can have a positive impact on your day to day work,” said Dr. May who added that he enjoys the courses. “Had I not been exposed to the AAPL seminars, I may not have even gone down that path.”

Dr. Adigun said, “I have found the sessions to be insightful. The courses have served as a catalyst for personal reflection and change assisting with growth and expanding from clinical care to learning what it takes to be a good leader.” The physician added that the AAPL seminars have transformed her from a linear way of practice and understanding of healthcare to a more circular and rewarding view. “It shed a light on the importance, value and huge impact ‘non-medical’ roles and services play in the collective wellbeing of patients and ourselves.”

Judy Genova DPN gives the seminars her support saying, “Marrying leadership skills and clinical background gives you the opportunity to lead in a distinct and different way. The leadership seminar series have given me the tools to understand and practice leadership in a changed approach.”

AAPL has been collaborating to provide leadership development programs for about 12 years with more than 20 organizations and offering leadership training to over 50,000 physicians worldwide.  The AAPL assists and supports Shore in the design and tailoring of each program to set to our needs and the a core group of participants contribute to the assessment of the program at the end of each year to determine next year’s topics,  location and timing and ensure value of continuation of the programs brought on site. 

There is a strong correlation between real practitioner leadership and top performing health systems.  Dr. Rowe said the journey of education is never ending and provides the path and tools to accomplish mutual successes of Shore and the medical staff practitioners as they work to continuously improve health care delivery to the our community. The impact has been a growing change in the culture of health care providers, as well as the administration of the hospital.