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  • Writer's pictureThe Communiqués

Future Leaders Communiqué Volume 7 Issue 1 January 2022

  • Editorial

  • Case: Closing the loop

  • Case: It's all too confusing

  • Expert Commentary: Dysfunctions affecting teams and teamwork

  • Perspective #1: Views from the inside

  • Perspective #2: Views from the outside

  • Perspective #3: Teams over five decades

  • Expert Commentary: Junior medical staff and patient safety

  • Comments From Our Peers


As we enter the third year of this COVID-19 pandemic we must continue to adapt and be flexible to deliver the health care our patients require. This is a challenge no other cohort of junior health professional staff have ever had to face. Worn down by constantly working wearing personal protective equipment, and isolated from our colleagues and patients and their families to reduce the risk of infection.

Each week brings changes. Not just changes in clinical practice to which we all expect to happen but changes to how clinical services are organised and how a workplace operates. These are structures we assumed would be stable and constant.

Added to these are the pressures from; constant re-shuffling of our rostered hours and clinical roles, the shuffling of our workloads to continue while short staffed, not knowing if we or one of our colleagues will be off work because they are the next COVID positive case or being furloughed as a close contact.

To top it all off, the ability to rest and recuperate from these physically and psychologically wearying duties is also compromised. The challenges of daily life are far greater than ever before, there seems nowhere for one to go to escape and get some temporary relief to recharge.

The health professions as a whole and junior staff have been resolute, determined, and stepping up to meet these challenges. A core element of the success in clinical service continuity is "teamwork" the theme of this Future Leaders Communiqué.

Due to the increased workload pressures from the pandemic, the ability of our junior medical guest editors to combine clinical duties with production of an edition of the Future Leader Communiqué (FLC) have not been possible. As such, this FLC issue does not have a guest editor and instead the senior editors have stepped in as one would expect in a team-based activity. This edition continues our approach of including comments, feedback, and insights from our junior medical colleagues. We have two case reports from past issues to anchor the themes along with reflective questions you should discuss with your team.

This edition draws on multiple perspectives about teams including a frank and honest view from Dr Georgette Paatsch who has just completed her one-year internship to become a junior medical officer, and Ms Sally Eastwood, an allied health professional. Our expert commentary is written by a human factors’ psychologist, Dr Shelly Jeffcott who explains the five forms of dysfunctions affecting teams and teamwork.

To round out this edition we have also included a short commentary about recognising the role of junior doctors in promoting patient safety—the primary goal for establishing the Future Leader Communiqué. Ten years have passed since our original academic work with Victorian Managed Insurance Authority to identify and promote a greater role for junior doctors in patient safety. It seems timely, to revisit the ideas and remember to encourage junior doctors to speak up and share their perspective.


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