Find yourself a Failure Friend

The article « Failing Up and Failing Better » by Sara Gray published on CanadiEM on Nov 22, 2017 outlined 5 Steps « to fail up ». The premise of the article is that failure is inevitable, so let’s accept failure and learn to fail.  The author outlined 5 principles of failure which included: 1) accepting failure, 2) breaking the silence, 3) excellent self-care, 4) learn and teach about it and 5) taking care of each other.

These principles are incredibly important as we progress further into our medical training. Take a look at this article for more information:

It is so important to know how to support one another and debrief.

A few key pointers on learning how to debrief:

  1. Ask for permission: friends and peers may be going through a similar learning process. Debrief is most effective when friends/peers have the time to listen. Friends want to be able to listen and be present but it’s difficult to do so if they’ve had a challenging day themselves.
  2. Just the facts: Outline the story in it’s entirety to provide context to your listener. Provide your listener with context and an understanding of the situation. This allows a   “set-stage” for your emotions, and your thoughts.
  3. Express emotion: There is strength in vulnerability, and finding someone that can be your “failure friend” is key. Take the time to be honest with yourself and to find someone you can truly be 100% honest with.
  4. Learning, not finger pointing: Once you’ve processed all the facts, the emotions, reflecting on your triggers, your stressors and learning from the experience will facilitate the learning.
  5. Be present: We should aim to support, and be present, as we would expect to be supported from our own friends and colleagues; let’s be present and open-minded.



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