During our vacation, my oldest daughter found out that somebody stole $350 from her. She forgot to bring her spending money with her and asked my youngest daughter to bring it when she came out a few days later. My youngest daughter put the cash in her glove box, but forgot to bring it with her. A few days later when she went to get the money, it was gone.
My oldest daughter immediately blamed her sister for being irresponsible at the same time that my youngest daughter blamed her sister for forgetting the money in the first place. This battle went on for 2 days, both of them blaming each other. Hurtful things were said, the past was brought up and everyone else in the family was thrown into the rink! The really interesting part was that both my daughters suspected a co-worker who apparently knew the money was there, had access to it and had been accused of stealing money before! They were blaming each other when they KNEW who probably stole the money.
This blaming when something goes wrong reminds me of how quick some of us are to blame each other or other disciplines when bad things happen in health care. I’ve been witness to physicians blaming nurses, nurses blaming physicians and each other over and over again to the point where we forget about the real the victim – patients. We can get so caught up in looking for somebody to blame that we fail to recognize our own involvement. For example, if we administer the wrong medication, we may be quick to blame the physician for ordering it. At the same time, the physician may blame the nurse for giving it, but shouldn’t we consider the role we all play in ensuring safe medication administration? Blaming doesn’t help. It just divides us even further apart when we should be striving to work collaboratively together.
After both my daughters calmed down, I helped them to see how they each played a role in what happened. I also helped them to see that instead of blaming each other, which was counterproductive, they should look objectively at what happened and learn from it. The money is gone. There isn’t anything either one of them can do to get it back. But they can avoid making the same mistake.
As nurses, we need to do the same; take ownership of the role we play in adverse events, talk openly about what went wrong, identify how to prevent errors from happening again, and avoid blaming anyone. Patients depend on our ability to be problem-solvers – not problem-blamers!
I hope this helps you to make good decisions
Take care and stay connected
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