I have just this morning finished listening to a book which has been hard hitting, thought provoking and definitely motivating. Black box thinking covers many details but the main overall topic is "failure". More specifically it covers:
Why we fail
How we are often blind to our failures
How failures can be made into a massively positive learning experience
The book opens by explaining the stark contrast between how failures are managed in aviation and in healthcare. It then explains why this attitude difference means aviation has an exemplary safety record yet mistakes in healthcare result in death or serious harm to millions of people every year. Later on other examples are used to explain finer points from multiple fields such as the world of professional cycling, F1, industrial manufacturing and even speed eating! The book isn't aimed just at healthcare workers nor is it attempting to denigrate people in our industry, but it uses us as a very vivid example of why we must all reconsider our attitude to failure.
And that is exactly what it has spurred me on to do. Going forward I am going to actively log and then consider the reasons behind my own successes and failures. There are many ways I could do this and I'm sure the process will evolve over time but initially I will be using the following method:
1) Every time a pt presents with a problem (or one is discovered at an exam) I will check the previous history to see if it is a tooth I have worked on previously. If it is then I will at that time simply make a note of the pt and relevant tooth on a spreadsheet.
2) At a later time when I have a few minutes spare such as if a pt doesn't attend an appt I can then review my failures spreadsheet and the notes for each pt.
3) I will look to see what kind of work it was that I did previously and how long ago
4) I will then reflect upon anything that I might have been able to do to improve the result. That may have been choosing a different treatment option or better isolation etc.
Admittedly this won't give me the whole picture because that would also require follow up and analysis on all the treatments that have not failed yet as well but the point of the exercise is really to start to get me in the mindset of actually analysing what does and doesn't work in my hands. That way I can more consciously improve the aspects of my skill set that need it and make more relevant treatment planning decisions in the future.
I would definitely call Black Box Thinking essential reading to all dentists. For the physical version please go here: http://amzn.to/2u0rIDD
And for the audiobook version please go here:
Dr Chris Harper