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Complaints and How to Survive Them E1: Preparing to Fail Well with Drs Sarah Coope, Annalene Weston and Sheila Bloomer
Episode 7811th May 2021 • You Are Not A Frog • Dr Rachel Morris
00:00:00 00:46:04

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A complaint or investigation is one of the most stressful things you can experience as a healthcare professional, and this is true no matter what sort of job you do. However, we can’t live and work in fear of complaints and we should certainly not beat ourselves up when we make a mistake (and we will do). There are better ways to handle these situations.

Drs Sarah Coope, Annalene Weston, and Sheila Bloomer join us in this first episode in a new series on ‘Complaints and How to Survive Them’ created in partnership with Medical Protection and Dental Protection, to talk about coaching doctors and dentists through complaints made against them. We also talk about the perfectionist mindset and how changing our perspective towards failure can help us and those around us.

If you want to know how to deal better with complaints made against doctors and other professionals in high-stress jobs, stay tuned to this episode.

Here are 3 reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Find out the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset.
  2. Know how reframing some of our negative self-talk can help us when we fail.
  3. Discover the one phrase we should have learned in our training that might save us from false expectations.

Episode Highlights

[07:47] Why We Deal with Complaints Badly

  • Many don't have the mental-emotional capacity to deal with having hurt someone else.
  • Medical professionals are used to success but not failure.

[15:53] Being Kind to Ourselves as Practitioners

  • Medical culture teaches its trainees and professionals that they come second to patients. 
  • Practitioners are not as kind to themselves as they need or deserve to be.

[17:44] Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset

  • The fixed mindset makes a person feel being a failure is their identity.
  • The growth mindset takes failure as a learning opportunity.

[24:23] Having High Expectations and Being Perfect 

  • We are uncomfortable with making mistakes and have unrealistic expectations.
  • Reassure practitioners that they are not the only ones making mistakes. 
  • Be kind to yourself. 

[27:45] Having a Mentor

  • Mentors can help you understand the 'why' of a clinical mistake.

[30:54] Imposter Syndrome

  • Some dental practitioners don't want other people to see their work. 

[34:14] Getting Out of the Perfectionist Mindset

  • Identify the mindset of someone going through a complaint.  
  • Spend some time asking them about their thoughts behind their feelings.
  • Reframe someone's perspective to step back and start building confidence.

[40:32] Top Tips

  • Accept that mistakes and difficult situations will happen.
  • Be willing to grow from mistakes.
  • Speak to somebody early on.
  • Trainees need to accept they will make mistakes. Some of them will be serious, and that is okay.