Being a Health leader in the 21st century

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Ándrew Suguru Sato, a 24 year old and a fifth-year medical student at Unicesumar, Maringá, Brazil. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

The contemporary health model implied changes in medicine. Physicians are required to have a general education and go beyond technical requirements, incorporating new attributes, among which leadership stands out.

Since 2001, in Brazil, there have been the Curriculum Guidelines for the Course of Medicine (DCCM), which define what is necessary for the student to act in a way that unites the integrality of care with technology. In this document, the skills and abilities that this new doctor must develop throughout his training are determined. Altogether, there are six general competencies: 1) health care; 2) decision-making; 3) communication; 4) leadership; 5) administration and management; 6) continuing education.

Not only because leadership is a requirement within the DCCM, even from the point of view of the Ministry of Education, the new curriculum of medical schools must follow the social changes of recent years, reinforced by the implementation of the Unified Health System and the reorganization of care centered on the Family Health Strategy to not only contemplate the daily circumstances of outpatient care, hospital management and public health, but also life-threatening moments such as care for a cardiorespiratory arrest. Thus, the central role that physicians play, due to the nature of their professional activities, is essential to develop leadership.

Thus, Brazilian medical schools must commit to working with it during professional training. However, it is observed that most current curricula do not offer tools for this.

Therefore, it is essential to recognize the legitimacy of projects and to open up free space in the formal curriculum that increasingly enables the participation of students in their path towards more complete professional training. Therefore, a challenge arises for medical schools: how to teach leadership to their students? In this context, extracurricular activities are presented as a learning strategy that places students in situations of management and teamwork. Among these activities, student organizations stand out, such as academic leagues, in which groups of students, under the guidance of professors, plan and develop various activities, where young people are the protagonist, thus being encouraged to develop leadership skills.

Encouraging to carry out extracurricular activities helps not only the future professional to have leadership skills, but also to act in medical education itself due to its proactive character. The difficulties lie in its subjective character, which makes its insertion in the formal curriculum difficult.

However, encouraging the participation of young people in local medical committees and welcoming them are ways for both doctors and society to have decent quality health, since these are the leading health professionals.

About the author

Ándrew Suguru Sato is 24 years old and a fifth-year medical student at Unicesumar, Maringá, Brazil. He is the president of the Academic League of health and spirituality (LIASE). He has always been dedicated to helping vulnerable populations from extracurricular projects, and developing the human side by the group Humanizart. 

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