Case studies in learning from our mistakes

Hemphill, Dennis and Cameron, Melainie ORCID: and Selig, Steve (2011) Case studies in learning from our mistakes. In: Clinical exercise: a case-based approach. Elsevier (Churchill Livingstone), Chatswood, Australia, pp. 278-284. ISBN 978-0-7295-3941-8


In the wisdom of Aesop (620-564 BC), it is better to learn through the mistakes of others than through your own. As clinicians and teachers we have found that we learn a great deal from the times we have made errors, and in this chapter we present case studies of our mistakes as lessons. These lessons are not the only, or perhaps even the most important, lessons of clinical practice, but they are ours. We have learned deeply because we own the errors, and integrate what we have learned into our work. It was Billy Joel who sang Tm not the only one who's made mistakes, but they're the only things I can truly call my own'. In this chapter we encourage all clinicians, particularly young practitioners, to see the value and importance of their mistakes. Do not 'bury them', as we often jest in medical circles, but admit them, study them, learn from them, and own them. In this chapter, as in Chapter 10, we write personal tales and tell stories using individual voices. Also, we digress somewhat from the more structured format of Chapters 11 to 19. We have not edited out these differences in voice and style because we wish to own our stories, mistakes and all. In case studies 1 and 2 we recount clinical consultations where our mistakes were of a practical, clinical nature; an incorrect diagnosis, and a less than completely thorough clinical history. In case study 3 Dennis recalls his early days of work and reflects on his approach to skin-fold testing. To open this chapter and begin our discussion of mistakes, we consider a vignette from the field of massage, a bodywork tale that could just as easily apply to clinical exercise practice.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2021 04:42
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2021 05:08
Uncontrolled Keywords: case studies; clinicians; teachers; clinical practice; clinical consultations; learning; mistakes
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110321 Rehabilitation and Therapy (excl. Physiotherapy)
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4207 Sports science and exercise > 420799 Sports science and exercise not elsewhere classified
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4201 Allied health and rehabilitation science > 420199 Allied health and rehabilitation science not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920201 Allied Health Therapies (excl. Mental Health Services)
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 20 HEALTH > 2003 Provision of health and support services > 200301 Allied health therapies (excl. mental health services)

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