Volume 9 no 1

Reflections: self-awareness, course correction, evaluation and change

Volume 9 Number 1  In This Issue


EDITORIAL: To better

times ahead

Sharron Spicer, MD

As the calendar turned to the new year, it seemed that the common greeting was “May 2023 be better than 2022!” For many of us, last year was grueling. Compounded on pandemic stress were ever-increasing system and capacity issues and added sociopolitical unrest. Getting through the grind of the day-to-day has been a challenge. It’s helpful, I think, to reflect on the lessons of our past and look forward with hope to better times ahead. This reflection can shape our experience of the present as we sense the larger context in which we live and work. Read article

It’s time for some things to change

Paul Beaudry, MD

This message was delivered by Dr. Beaudry as a eulogy for Dr. Warren Yunker, a surgeon who took his own life in November 2022. Dr. Yunker was a respected otolaryngologist at Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary. His wife, Dr. Rebecca Sparkes, is a medical geneticist at the same hospital. Both Dr. Sparkes and Dr. Beaudry have given their permission for this tribute to be published in CJPL in an effort to reduce the shame and stigma around mental illness, disability, chronic pain, and suffering and to promote conversations about these issues — including suicide. It is the wish of Dr. Yunker’s family that we continue to raise awareness and support each other with courage, love, and empathy. Read article

PERSPECTIVE: Lessons in crisis decision-making learned from Canada’s COVID-19 health care response

Wael M.R. Haddara, MD

The rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic presented many health care institutions with unique challenges. Although the Canadian response was generally strong, several gaps in leadership and decision-making became apparent. This paper presents reflections on key health care decision-making principles through the retrospective prism of the pandemic.

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ADVICE: Leadership lessons and observations

Nicole Boutilier, MD

My 17 years in physician leadership have come with lots of lessons. Hard ones, ones that had to be repeated, ones that I’ll never forget, ones that gave me hope, and ones that shattered my confidence. Read article

Virtual objective structured clinical examinations — a novel approach to teaching and evaluating

leadership skills in medical students

Michael Aw, MD, Ahmed Shoeib, MD, Craig Campbell, MD, and Charles Su, MD

The objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) is a simulation-based method of learning and assessment that allows for mistakes and feedback. Its uniformity, objectivity, and reproducibility are among its greatest strengths. Unfortunately, OSCEs rarely directly assess non-clinical skills or focus on leadership skills, such as conflict management. Leadership training is an underrepresented component of the medical school curriculum. Although OSCEs cannot evaluate leadership in its entirety, we have demonstrated the feasibility of using OSCEs to simulate realistic scenarios for students to apply and practise communication, collaboration and professional skills associated with leadership. Read article


Canadian Conference on Physician Leadership 2023

These past three years have placed unprecedented stress and pressure on our health system, leaving it fractured and broken. As physician leaders you are being called upon to make hard decisions and do more with less, all while ensuring that your patients receive the best quality of care. That is why CCPL and its theme, Healing our Health System: Leadership for Renewal, is so timely and relevant. Read article


PERSPECTIVE: Physician leadership: 50 shades of great

Johny Van Aerde, MD, PhD

Over the past two plus years, I have had the opportunity to interview 50 health care leaders (mainly physicians) on behalf of the Canadian Society of Physician Leaders for its Leading the Way podcast series.1 These leaders are wrestling with the most significant upheaval in health care in many generations.

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The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness and Healing in a Toxic Culture

Gabor Maté, MD

Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2022

Reviewed by Sena Gok, MD.

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Commanding Hope: The Power We Have to Renew a World in Peril

Thomas Homer-Dixon

Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2020

Reviewed by Johny Van Aerde, MD, PhD

Read review