There are a lot of wise sayings about mistakes and how they make us better human beings but if they are so good for us, why do they feel so bad and why is it so hard to admit them at work? Most people will say they feel that that admitting an error is tantamount to professional suicide. However, when it comes to medical errors, healthcare experts are quickly discovering that talking about them can actually help to prevent them.
Let’s be clear, there are two and only two categories of mistakes in healthcare; clinical errors and everything else. Avoiding clinical errors is the Holy Grail of healthcare practice. Yet, even in that life-or-death situation the protocols designed to avoid clinical error can be improved by a culture that openly discusses them. When errors can be acknowledged, without fear of retribution, root causes can be unearthed, examined and corrected. Without that level of transparency, small details that lead to large errors remain buried and troublesome.