Page 74 - Jackson Journal
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                 Optical Patient Outcomes
    A look at Leadership Through the Eyes of a Clinician
Maj. Brian E. Stoltenberg
As student clinicians make their way through the education process, the concept of Evidence-Based Practice defines how they should approach their career to maximize patient outcomes. The concept encourages a foundational understanding of medical evidence but places equal importance on the setting and method in which
it is applied. Evidence-Based Practice ultimately enables clinicians to serve their populations’ health care needs. Could this same structure have an application to a leader’s ability to effectively guide an organization?
This article will explore that potential.
Evidence-Based Practice is classically described as three pillars in support of optimal patient outcomes. The first pillar is a firm understanding of what evidence is available within scientific research. It is important to recognize that the body of published evidence includes everything from opinion articles and individual case reports to randomized controlled trials that went through maximal scientific rigor.
The second pillar is how a clinician shapes their individual clinical expertise. This is how those published considerations are put into practice as a clinician’s experience matures, relying on pattern recognition of certain conditions or populations.
The third pillar is a healthy respect towards patient’s values and expectations. If a plan of care does not align with a patient’s goals or particular set of circumstances it risks suboptimal results.
What if these three pillars were slightly re- focused towards how any given organization
leads their employees towards a common goal?
The first pillar of scientific research becomes an industry’s published guidelines for operations based upon decades of practice and refinement. These
guidelines may be ever-evolving, much as the medical world is, and leaders need to ensure they stay up-to-date.
The second pillar of individual clinical expertise becomes a leader’s historical field experience.
A leader’s ability to retain and periodically demonstrate those field skills may maximize employee trust and confidence. This idea leads directly into the third pillar of patient values
and expectations. If a leader can make decisions with consideration to what is important in the employee’s mind, it may foster an organizational climate where employees feel inherently valued, driving intrinsic motivation.
Practicing health care with respect to the three pillars of Evidence-Based Practice helps build expert clinicians that are widely respected amongst their profession and their patients. Using a similar three-pillar structure to leadership provides a framework where decisions can be made with equal attention to known industry standards, current experience amongst the field and values of the employees.
It is acknowledged that this model is over- simplified, as discussions on effective organizational leadership will never be summed up in less than 500 words. That said, if one of these three pillars
is neglected when deciding an organizational direction, the resulting change may be in the form of simple compliance to the order rather than commitment to the vision.
MAJ Stoltenberg is a physical therapist at Moncrief Army Health Clinic.
   74 Jackson Journal
   Best Evidence from Research
Industry Published Guidelines
Individual Clinical Expertise
Leader’s Prior Field Experience
Patient Values and Expectations
Employee Needs and Aspirations

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