• Study
  • Published August 2019

How medical error shapes physicians' perceptions of learning: an exploratory study.

Although medical errors present opportunities for learning, less is known about how the emotions providers experience after an error affect their perceptions of learning. In this study, researchers interviewed 19 Canadian providers regarding their experiences with learning from mistakes. They found that memories of mistakes from training seemed to stand out, and participants expressed feeling both responsible for mistakes and blamed for them. Both cultural and individual factors facilitated and deterred learning from these experiences. Positive experiences with mentorship and peer support were identified as helpful. Experiences with formal review processes and rounds were mixed. The authors conclude that using a learning culture perspective that acknowledges blame and responsibility can facilitate learning from mistakes. A past PSNet interview discussed the emotional toll of errors on physicians.

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