Barriers to acceptance of medical error: the case for a teaching program (695)

Med Educ. 1998 Jan;32(1):3-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2923.1998.00695.x.


There is need for a teaching programme aiming to impart a tolerance of error to undergraduate medical students. The implementation of such a programme may have to challenge the institutional norms that encourage authoritarianism, intolerance of uncertainty and denial of error. Acceptance of error is a prerequisite for its candid reporting, and reporting of errors is a prerequisite for their analysis with a view to their prevention. A curriculum on medical error may, therefore, not only help medical students cope with their future mistakes, but also reduce their frequency. Teaching intervention aiming to promote an acceptance of medical error as both inevitable and reducible may also encourage students' epistemological development by making them realize that their doubts and uncertainties are shared by their peers and instructors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Medical Errors / psychology*