25th May, 2021

Complaints and How to Survive Them E2: What to Do When You Make a Mistake with Drs Clare Devlin and Dr John Powell

With Rachel Morris

Dr Rachel Morris

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On this episode

Do you live in fear that you’ll make a mistake at work? When it does happen, do you find it hard to cope and move forwards?

Doctors and other professionals are also human — making mistakes is normal. Knowing this, however, doesn’t take away the stress that comes with going through a complaint or investigation. Since we know that we’re bound to make a mistake at work, what matters is how we respond to them. To maintain our well-being throughout our career, it’s crucial to know how to handle mistakes.

In this episode, Drs Clare Devlin and John Powell join us to discuss the proper way of responding to professional mistakes. We talk about why doctors have a hard time whenever they make a mistake at work. Clare and John also share valuable advice on minimising negative consequences and getting a good outcome for you and your patient.

If you want to learn a roadmap for what you should do you make a mistake at work, then tune in to this episode.

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Reasons to listen

  1. Learn why many doctors don’t know how to respond when they make a mistake at work.
  2. Find out how to combat defensiveness and effectively communicate with a patient after a complaint.
  3. Clare and John share their top tips on what to do when you make a mistake at work.

Episode highlights


What Happens When Doctors Make a Mistake at Work


The Dos and Don’ts 


How to Communicate with Your Patient


About Defensiveness


Getting Good Outcomes


The Lack of Education About Handling Mistakes


The Best Time to Seek Support


Top Tips on What to Do When You Make a Mistake at Work

Episode transcript

Dr Rachel Morris: Do you live in fear of a complaint? Do you dread making mistakes or getting something wrong? No one goes to work expecting to fail, and no one ever likes to be wrong or receive a complaint. But making mistakes is normal. After all, no one has a 100% success rate, and receiving complaints from patients and clients could be seen to be an occupational hazard. We know this. So why do we find it so hard to cope when it happens? And it will. That’s why we’ve put together a series of You are Not A…

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