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Health care leadership development and training: progress and pitfalls

Overview of attention for article published in Journal of Healthcare Leadership, February 2016
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Health care leadership development and training: progress and pitfalls
Published in
Journal of Healthcare Leadership, February 2016
DOI 10.2147/jhl.s68068
Pubmed ID

Roberta Sonnino


Formal training in the multifaceted components of leadership is now accepted as highly desirable for health care leaders. Despite natural leadership instincts, some core leadership competencies ("differentiating competencies") must be formally taught or refined. Leadership development may begin at an early career stage. Despite the recognized need, the number of comprehensive leadership development opportunities is still limited. Leadership training programs in health care were started primarily as internal institutional curricula, with a limited scope, for the development of faculty or practitioners. More comprehensive national leadership programs were developed in response to the needs of specific cohorts of individuals, such as programs for women, which are designed to increase the ranks of senior women leaders in the health sciences. As some programs reach their 20th year of existence, outcomes research has shown that health care leadership training is most effective when it takes place over time, is comprehensive and interdisciplinary, and incorporates individual/institutional projects allowing participants immediate practical application of their newly acquired skills. The training should envelop all the traditional health care domains of clinical practice, education, and research, so the leader may understand all the activities taking place under his/her leadership. Early career leadership training helps to develop a pipeline of leaders for the future, setting the foundation for further development of those who may chose to pursue significant leadership opportunities later in their career. A combination of early and mid-to-late career development may represent the optimal training for effective leaders. More training programs are needed to make comprehensive leadership development widely accessible to a greater number of potential health care leaders. This paper addresses the skills that health care leaders should develop, the optimal leadership development concepts that must be acquired to succeed as a health care leader today, some resources for where such training may be obtained, and what gaps are still present in today's system.

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Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Netherlands 1 <1%
Unknown 163 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 31 19%
Student > Doctoral Student 21 13%
Researcher 19 12%
Student > Bachelor 12 7%
Other 10 6%
Other 35 21%
Unknown 36 22%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Nursing and Health Professions 38 23%
Medicine and Dentistry 37 23%
Business, Management and Accounting 13 8%
Psychology 7 4%
Social Sciences 6 4%
Other 19 12%
Unknown 44 27%