Developing Physician Leadership in Hospital Policy Development: A Case Study of Resident-Driven Policy Initiatives in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham

Academic Article


  • The bulk of a resident's daily work is patient care related; however, other aspects of residency training are vital both to a resident's education and to the advancement of the field. Basic science and clinical research are the more common academic activities in which residents participate after completion of daily patient care objectives. Less frequently, residents participate in a process vital to the delivery of efficient, cost-effective, and safe patient care: hospital policy development. Two policies were identified as outdated or absent: (1) the process for the declaration of brain death and (2) a policy for the use of hypertonic saline in the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit. The policies were rewritten after review of the existing policy (when applicable), other institutions' examples, national guidelines, and state and federal laws. Once written, proposals were reviewed by department leadership, hospital ethics, legal counsel, ad hoc specialty committees, the Medical Directors Council, and the Medical Executive Committee. After multiple revisions, each proposal was endorsed by the above bodies and ratified as hospital policy. Residents may make a substantial impact on patient care through active participation in the authorship and implementation of hospital policy. The inclusion of residents in policy development has improved the process for declaring brain death and management of patients with devastating neurological pathology. Resident involvement in hospital policy initiatives can be successful, valuable to the institution, and beneficial to patient care. Resident involvement is predicated on faculty and institutional support of such endeavors.
  • Published In

  • Neurosurgery  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Shank CD; Kuhn EN; Hadley MN; Walters BC
  • Start Page

  • 150
  • End Page

  • 153
  • Volume

  • 86
  • Issue

  • 1