Failing Spectacularly

We’re an odd bunch of people, we critical care practitioners. We perform a role defined by its high stakes, and we go at it with high intensity training, communication, and language. We learn that we must train like the military so that we cannot fail. It’s a concept that becomes ingrained in our psyche. And part of this is unquestionably true – preventable error is intolerable.

However we also know that failure is a fundamental part of learning, and growing. No discovery in history, no artistic accomplishment, no invention, or new idea has been birthed without a profusion of opulent failures.

The #FOAMed world prides itself on being the testing ground for new ideas – peopled by those who challenge the aphorisms of medicine, who slay dogma, and who are, in essence, medically creative. Failure is an essential part of this process. Thus we must learn how to fail, how to welcome in our wrongness, and how to incorporate this into our daily endeavours. We must also give others room to fail, a critically deficient factor in the shouty world of online communication.

This odd little talk is my journey of coming face to face with the wrath of personal failure, and the translation it had into the world of critical care.

In the end, expecting and embracing one’s own failures opens the door to creative and academic freedom.

The Podcast

The Slides

Emergency physician. Lives for teaching and loves clinical work, but with social media, she is like the syndromic cousin in the corner who gets brought out and patted on the head once in a while | Literary Medicine | @eleytherius | Website |

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