Would Emergency medical service organisations benefit from leadership programmes, or are they better off hiring leaders who already possess certain leadership qualities?: Leadership development programmes versus personal traits
Background: Emergency Medical Service (EMS) leaders are recognized as fundamental to the delivery of quality patient care (Kirkwood, 2009, p. 24). Research suggests that there is a direct correlation between leadership effectiveness and organisational performance (National EMS association, 2008, p. 3; & Powers, 2006, p. 75). Ineffective leadership can produce dissatisfied employees which can affect the quality of care given to patients, whereas effective leadership can improve organisational quality and efficiency and have measurable effects on organisational culture (Manley, Sanders, Cardiff, S, & Webster, 2011; McAlearney, 2008, p. 320; & Powers, 2006, p. 75). However, in past there has been little in the way of leadership education and preparation and people were thrown into leadership roles where they were expected to learn and develop whilst on the job (National EMS association, 2008, p. 3). This uncoordinated approach has led to the development of dissatisfied employees resulting in high rates of absenteeism and staff retention (Powers, 2006, p. 75). Recognising that there is direct correlation between leadership effectiveness and organisational performance has caused a shift in which health care views leadership roles leaning toward a better leadership method and a more unified approach (National EMS association, 2008, p. 3; & Powers, 2006, p. 75).
The need for education for EMS leaders became apparent around the 1970’s where academic institutions developed degree programmes for EMS management (National EMS association, 2008, p. 12). Since then more institutions have developed baccalaureate degrees and programmes in EMS management and administration and in 1994 the American Ambulance Association...