Lived Experiences and Political Advocacy in Emerging Physician Leaders: A Phenomenological Study

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Hazen, Krista
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Medical education has changed very little in the past 100 years. This was noted by the American Medical Association and its focus to redefine medical education in recognition of changes in technology and society that impact healthcare. The organization introduced a new area of study, encompassing healthcare delivery knowledge, leadership, and advocacy called Health System Science. The following dissertation in practice study explored the impact physicians have on leading and impacting healthcare policymaking by recording the experience and leadership involvement of effective political advocates in the field of medicine. The study also explored the significance of formal political advocacy leadership education for emerging physicians. To explore the topic of the impact of political advocacy in the emerging physician’s career, phenomenological research methods were used because it relies on the personal narrative from the study participants to explore the phenomenon and the philosophical orientation. The main research question for this study concentrated on this phenomenon and asked: Viewing political advocacy in medicine through the lenses of servant and transformational leadership styles, what are the lived political advocacy experiences of emerging physicians in Ohio? Through in-depth, one-on-one, semi-structured interviews with emerging physicians, the following was uncovered: common leadership characteristics among the participants; motivation factors which led to their involvement in political advocacy; and how involvement in political advocacy impacted their professional career. Through analysis of the data using the grounded research method, a three-pronged approach is suggested as the solution to build physician advocate leaders. The proposed solution addresses: 1) medical school, based on the Health Systems Science pillar; 2) residency programs, focused on the practical application of leadership-in-practice principles; and 3) the licensed physician, which demands that the physician serve as both a mentee to promote continued learning and mentor to serve others in the profession. Keywords: medical education, healthcare, policymaking, physicians, leadership, political advocacy, emerging physicians  
Creighton University
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