Posted: 2021-09-15 19:00:00
Introduction: Due to the largescale scope of the COVID-19 pandemic, strain on the higher education system in the United States has been extraordinary. Yet, with any crisis, there is the opportunity to learn, grow, and develop new knowledge and strategies to benefit educational programs moving forward. The purpose of this study is to describe the leadership lessons learned by academic pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic from the perspective of administrators, faculty, and students. Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed of qualitative data provided by three focus groups. Each focus group was composed of one of three distinct college of pharmacy constituencies: (1) members of the college's executive team, (2) faculty members who currently or in the recent past served in college leadership positions, and (3) students in an elective pharmacy leadership course. Focus groups were semi-structured, and discussion concerned leadership lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. A modified form of inductive content analysis and abstraction was used to assess qualitative data collected during the focus groups. Results: Five main themes emerged across all three focus groups, which include open and ongoing communication, staying connected, turning crisis into opportunity, being adaptable/flexible, and finding ways to stay productive. Themes unique to each focus group were also identified. Conclusions: Core leadership lessons in emergent situations like the COVID-19 pandemic, including adaptability to the changing environment and communicating accurately and with appropriate frequency, illustrate the need for flexibility during times of crisis and highlight areas of focus for future planning. Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; Leadership; Qualitative research.
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