Perceptions of physician leadership in Botswana

L Sokol-Hessner, B M Tsima, C J Dine, B Masheto, J A Shea, J Masunge, O Nkomazana


Background. Physician leadership is essential for the strengthening of health systems, especially in underserved settings such as sub-Saharan Africa. To be effective, leaders must be perceived as such by their community. It is unknown how perceptions of physician leadership in Botswana compare with those of the Canadian Medical Education Directives for Specialists (CanMEDS) Physician Competency Framework, which is used to shape the training of Botswana’s future physicians.

Objective. To examine if the perceived competencies of physician leadership in Botswana are specifically named in the CanMEDS Framework and thereby inform Botswana’s graduate medical education. Methods. We conducted focus groups discussions with nurses, interns, medical officers and specialists at Princess Marina Hospital and Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital. Key questions focused on describing the qualities of physician leadership. For data analysis we used inductive content coding and comparison with the CanMEDS frameworks.

Results. Forty-eight clinicians participated and 111 unique codes were assigned to 503 comments. Eighty-four per cent of comments corresponded to the CanMEDS 2005 competencies; many were captured within the competencies of the medical expert (13.0%), communicator (17.8%), collaborator (15.6%), scholar (14.9%) and professional (31.3%) roles. About 5% of comments mapped to the draft CanMEDS 2015 update, and 11.5% were not specifically described in either version of CanMEDS, including charisma and decisiveness.

Conclusion. The CanMEDS frameworks specifically address most of the competencies perceived as important for physician leadership in Botswana. Additional perceptions were identified that may require the attention of existing and aspiring physician leaders and their teachers to ensure they attain and maintain their effectiveness as leaders.

Authors' affiliations

L Sokol-Hessner, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

B M Tsima, University of Botswana School of Medicine, Botswana

C J Dine, Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA

B Masheto, Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital, Francistown, Botswana

J A Shea, Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA

J Masunge, University of Botswana School of Medicine, Botswana

O Nkomazana, University of Botswana School of Medicine, Botswana

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Physician leadership

Cite this article

African Journal of Health Professions Education 2015;7(1):. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.312

Article History

Date submitted: 2013-07-17
Date published: 2015-02-23

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