Student Research Feature: James Stempien

Photo of MA Leadership-Health graduand James Stempien

The School of Leadership Studies would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to James Stempien on the completion of a Master’s Thesis titled, Understanding Emergency Medicine Physician Leadership within the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

This thesis is available through RRU’s library here.

We asked James a few questions about this research and this is what they said: 

What are some key takeaways from your thesis that would be helpful for other leaders?

Emergency medicine physician leaders enter their roles dedicated to helping improve patient outcomes. They bring specific clinical skills with them such as decision making abilities and a broad view of the health care system that aids them in their leadership work. But physician leadership is a stressful and sometimes thankless role that makes the job difficult for those same dedicated leaders.

How is the organization moving change forward based on your work?

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), like all health care organizations are under extreme stress right now, so I don’t expect any new initiatives to develop out of my work at present. The SHA is dedicated to supporting physician leadership through a LEAN model and as a provincial head I am taking part in that process

What surprised you about your experience of the thesis process?

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I learned through the process of writing a thesis. My understanding of qualitative research has greatly improved, and I’ve been able to transfer those skills to other research projects I’m doing as well as supporting medical students through their research projects.

How are you applying lessons learned from your whole MA-Leadership journey?

I have a better understanding of medical leadership in general and the stresses involved. Physicians in medical leadership roles are dedicated individuals but subject to mental stress and compromise in their wellness, as they try and balance continuing clinical excellence with the sometimes thankless job of medical leadership. Physician leadership in the health care system I believe will be important for its transformation and improvement. The contribution of physician leaders should be recognized and supported.