“I have made a mistake”

“How often do you hear someone say that?…NEVER!”

I’ve heard this sentiment few times thus far in the conference, from all the levels of participants here. And what a simple change to start.

Every day in my role as a senior resident on a team, I am setting an example for the students, interns, nurses and co-residents with whom I work.  Every day a member of my team may take an action that we could classify as a mistake, oversight, error or omission. If you look hard enough, they are present in the details. Particularly among the sickest of our patients.

Next time I recognize such an occurrence, rather than stating “john didn’t see this result before going down”, ” the intern didn’t notify me of this change”,  “the nurse didn’t call to tell me,” I’m going to recount the events by stating instead that WE on the team missed this. I am responsible for this detail, you are responsible for this detail, we are responsible together. As the leader of this small unit of a team, this is a simple way that I can change our culture of culpability through the deliberate use of language; and by taking it onto myself, I hope, I will impress upon my team members that it is a part of their responsibility to do so as well.

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