Freedom to Fail

“There can be no real freedom without the freedom to fail.”

-Eric Hoffer (American Social Writer)

But can we really? I mean, really fail. In the course of delivering emergency care can we completely fail?

I imagine that somewhere at the core of each and every one of us is a secret fear that the next call, the next major incident, the next patient contact might be the one where we fail. I think we all carry around with us the fear of a massive, public, ugly failure in the course of our care.

I say that because it’s entirely plausible that we will experience one of these failures in our careers. They happen all the time. They happen more frequently than we want to admit. And I would like to assert that we are better caregivers when we can put that fear aside.

What does your organization do to help resolve that fear? What does it do to feed it?

What your organization does to respond to critical failures in patient care will determine a lot about how free their personnel we feel to go out and practice good medicine. It’s worth thinking about.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    By carefully saying nobody in the last year has been sacked for clinical errors, but then refusing to say how many jumped before they were pushed…

  2. Fear of failure kills.

    We fail all of the time, but usually they are little failures and we ignore them.

    If we don’t admit our little failures, how can we expect to deal responsibly with out big failures – and we all will have big failures.

    .

  3. If we don’t admit our little failures, how can we expect to deal responsibly with OUR big failures – and we all will have big failures.

    Just another failure to proofread before hitting post.

    .

  4. To quote Adam Savage, “Failure is ALWAYS an option.”

    We’re human, we make mistakes. We should always learn from them and adjust accordingly.

  5. I work for a fairly large service and we have access to PTSD counselors. Unfortunately, the biggest challenge with getting over failures is my own co-workers, and the seemingly endless supply of gossip and innuendo that accompanies a bad call. For the most part, a person just has to suck it up and deal with it. The alternative is to be indecisive when dealing with the next critical patient. It would seem indecision harms more patients than anything.