Abstract

The expression "shame and blame" has often been used to describe the culture within healthcare when a mistake is made. There has been little exploration, however, on the shame healthcare professionals experience after a mistake. Based on an original grounded theory study on the psychological impact of mistakes on health professionals, this article explores why the healthcare environment is a perfect ecosystem for growing shame, how individuals are coping or not coping with the negative effects of this powerful emotion and what might be done at the system, organizational and team level to mitigate these negative effects.