We are all imperfect, this is the human condition. Pursuing a career in resuscitation means that some of our failures can lead to significant consequences, for our patients and ourselves. In medicine, we rarely talk about our short-comings, but this silence leads to isolation and shame. This likely contributes to our significant rates of burnout, anxiety, depression and suicide. We need to change the conversation and start talking about this issue; we need to break the silence.
We need to train in mindfulness, in self-compassion and in empathy. These skills may be just as important as learning the new evidence or guidelines for clinical care. Do you have a case that haunts you? So do the rest of us. Let’s start talking about it, and learning how to fail better.
Resources to consider:
1. www.Selfcompassion.org This is Dr Kristin Neff’s website, complete with a self-compassion quiz, and then exercises and resources for those who fail the quiz! She also has a book, if you prefer that format.
2. Pema Chodron. Fail, fail again, fail better. A short, and lovely commencement address with excellent advice for failing better. https://www.amazon.ca/Fail-Again-Better-Advice-Leaning/dp/1622035313
3. Angela Lee Duckworth. Grit. A marvelous book about the essence of perseverance. Or if you don’t like books, consider her TED talk at https://www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_grit_the_power_of_passion_and_perseverance
4. Brene Brown. The Gifts of Imperfection. A book about failure, and acceptance of failure. Again, if books aren’t your thing, she has a hugely popular TED talk about vulnerability: https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability and a website/online learning community: https://www.courageworks.com/