New approaches to leadership in healthcare

By: Hanna Hiidenmaa

Being a leader in the healthcare world requires much more than clinical expertise. But in the highly specialized world of medicine, leadership is rarely taught - so how can it be improved? The Synapsi mentoring program is one such solution.

Leadership in healthcare

In recent years, the healthcare system in Finland has undergone significant changes due in particular to the national health and social service (“SOTE”) reform. At the same time, Finland is facing challenges associated with its aging population and the lingering effects of covid. Consequently, the healthcare system is experiencing increased pressure as the workforce shrinks and the number of patients in need of medical care continues to increase. 

Rigidly hierarchical structures within multi-professional teams contribute to the complexity of these challenges. Additionally, the industry is burdened with strict regulation, law obligations, a shortage of manpower, and lack of diversity in leadership. 

Effective leadership in healthcare is crucial – and a demanding job, particularly as the industry faces many challenges that require competent leadership 

The typical form of leadership in healthcare follows a traditional hierarchical structure, with the most accomplished doctors taking the top positions based on their academic achievements and clinical expertise, while human management skills are not necessarily emphasized. 

Particularly within healthcare, those chosen to be leaders are often highly individual experts with the most advanced medical academic and clinical qualifications. As a result, they often lack training and support in leadership – not to mention interest in leadership itself – and tend to replicate the approaches of previous leaders and just do what the old boss did. 

Significant problems with employee engagement can emerge as a result. Healthcare professionals, including nurses and doctors, are becoming reluctant to work within the healthcare sector due to the overwhelming pressure they can face. This situation has increasingly led healthcare professionals to contemplate alternative career paths. Therefore, it is crucial to create new leadership approaches and incentive models so that doctors and nurses stay motivated to keep working in the healthcare system.  

Breaking the bad habits

At Vertical, we have created a mentorship program called Synapsi that supports doctors in sharing their own experiences and developing their leadership skills. To ensure the best possible leadership in healthcare it is important to examine and challenge the leadership patterns and habits inherited from previous leaders and try to break them. Simply following the belief that “this is how things have always been done and this is how it always will be done” prevents effective and inspiring leadership.

Individuals should be empowered to unlock their full potential and discover their authentic leadership style. We aim to guide and encourage them to undergo this process. Being the best clinical doctor does not necessarily translate into being the best leader in the working environment, and vice versa. Effective leadership requires a deep understanding of human dynamics and the needs and goals of the group being led.

While it is common for doctors to be led by other doctors, it is not always necessary. Encouraging open discussion about the importance of innovations and how to break old patterns within healthcare leadership is crucial.

More attention to the value of leadership in healthcare

At Vertical, we believe in providing more support for healthcare leaders and emphasizing the value of leadership in healthcare. We aim to help healthcare professionals in recognizing that the quality of leadership in healthcare correlates with the quality of healthcare treatments. By offering support, guidance and resources we strive to support healthcare leadership towards a better future. 

This is why we offer our mentorship program, Synapsi, for doctors interested in healthcare leadership. The goals of the program are to clarify the requirements of management, offer support in growing into the role of a leader, help you find your own leadership style, develop concrete ways to solve everyday challenges, and outline different career paths. In addition, the program enables networking with colleagues and other stakeholders interested in leadership.

In conclusion, effective leadership is needed to address the problems the Finnish healthcare system faces. To break free from old patterns, healthcare professionals need support to develop their leadership skills. Vertical’s mentorship program, Synapsi, offers guidance and resources for doctors interested in healthcare leadership. By recognizing the value of leadership and investing in its development, we can pave the way for a stronger healthcare system in Finland.

More details?

Please get in touch with Hanna Hiidenmaa if you should have any questions or if you need more details.

Hanna Hiidenmaa

+358 40 455 3869