Better By Mistake – Improve your life and performance by Alina Tugend

Medical Mistakes

  • In chapter 4, Tugend focuses on mistakes made by doctors and how medical systems can change to reduce mistakes. Unlike pilots who are the first ones at a crash site, medical people don’t directly suffer from their own mistakes. The medical field has learned a great deal from aviation’s experience with preventing and handling errors, but there is still far to go. They are more inclined to cover up or deny to save their livelihood. Less than half of harmful errors are disclosed to patients. One study showed that simple checklists can dramatically reduce errors even though they seem infantile to doctors.

Lessons from the Cockpit

  • Research in aviation can be applied across all fields. Human factors that lead to errors are poor communication, fatigue, stress, and overwork. Plane crashes are more likely to result from an accumulation of minor difficulties and trivial malfunctions. Many latent errors can lead to an active error. Systems should focus on managing errors as they can never be totally eliminated. Junior crew members are expected to speak up. Communications should feature threats and errors.

Gender and Mistakes

  • Chapter six deals with how men and women tend to deal differently with mistakes. Generally, women agonize more and blame themselves more, while men get over their blunders faster and point the finger at others. Teachers spend more time with boys and give them more precise and helpful feedback. This helps boys learn to handle criticism. We may be subconsciously encouraging our girls to be perfect. They fear disappointing others. This makes it harder to acknowledge mistakes. Men and women may not be from different planets, but they do appear to be from different states when it comes to mistakes.
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