Learning From Mistakes

Dr Jan Bonhoeffer explores how we can learn from past mistakes and improve our practice

Making mistakes is an inevitable and often painful part of being human. Some of our mistakes have serious consequences, especially if we’re making life and death decisions, yet we must continue to make those decisions in the full knowledge that things can go wrong. That’s a heavy burden, and Dr Jan Bonhoeffer was curious to know how other healthcare professionals manage their mistakes.

Listening into this discussion with our community, we learn strategies from a retired surgeon, a doctor, a hospital clown, a board director and a therapist. The collective wisdom includes adopting a student mindset, seeing mistakes as an opportunity for growth, taking ownership and finding value in the pain by moving beyond the mind and allowing it to be felt in the heart. Questions such as ‘Was I present?’ can really help. What are your strategies?

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