Unmasking the self as a fallible health professional: A grounded theory study on the psychosocial process of mitigating the negative effects of shame due to mistakes

  • Author / Creator
    Aubin, Diane L.
  • This grounded theory study investigated the effect of shame on health professionals who make mistakes. Interviews with nurses, physicians, pharmacists and residents generated rich data from which to formulate a theory on the psychosocial process of making a mistake. The stories and experiences the participants shared expose a multi-faceted process that is shrouded in shame, and complicated by external and internal influences, most importantly the interactions they have with other health professionals.
    The theory that was developed from this study proposes a perspective on the process that challenges current ideas about how to manage mistakes in health care. The implications of the theory will be useful in helping health professionals cope with mistakes. The study also provides recommendations for individuals themselves to cope with their emotions after a mistake, for organizations to better support their staff after a mistake, and for educational institutions to better prepare health professionals for experience of making mistakes through targeted training and interprofessional education.
    This study therefore generates new insights into the psychosocial process of mistakes from the perspective of health professionals and grounded in the data from their stories. The findings will help health professionals better understand why they react the way they do and give them guidance for managing and coping with the shame they feel after a mistake.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2015
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Psychological Studies in Education
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Bill Whelton, Department of Educational Psychology
    • Patricia Boechler, Department of Educational Psychology
    • Sherry Espin, School of Nursing (Ryerson) - external
    • Elizabeth Taylor, Department of Occupational Therapy
    • Jessica Van Vliet, Department of Educational Psychology