The fear of medical error: A growth mindset approach to ‘second victim’ support

  • Professorial Fellow, Melbourne Medical School and Professor, Melbourne Business School

    Professor Jill Klein
    T: 9349-8240
    E: jillkleinmbs@gmail.com
    W: Personal web page

    Location: N722, Medical School Building

Project Details

While some research attention has been paid to how health professionals’ cope with the emotional impact of medical error, we take a different approach by examining anxiety about future errors among medical students and junior doctors. To our knowledge, this will be the first research program to carefully explore this issue.

In this research we will examine the impact of a growth mindset on medical error anxiety. The mindset model holds that our implicit assumptions about the origins of abilities (intelligence and talent) has a profound impact on how we view setbacks and failures. Those with a fixed mindset believe that abilities are endowed and static, and thus a failure indicates a lack of ability. Those with a growth mindset view abilities as acquired through effort, practice and learning from setbacks, and thus a failure represents an opportunity for development and improvement. A great deal of research shows that this fundamental difference in how abilities are viewed has a powerful impact on a number of outcomes, including resilience in the face of adversity.

The aims of the project include:

  • Gaining an in-depth understanding of how students and junior doctors think about medical error
  • Developing and testing a quantitative measure of error anxiety
  • Understanding predictors (including mindset) and consequences of medical error anxiety
  • Investigating whether a growth mindset intervention will reduce the negative effects of error anxiety

Collaborators

  • Professor Steve Trumble, MD        MDHS (Head of Medical Education Department)
  • Senior Research Fellow Michael Fischer               FBE (Centre for Workplace Leadership)
  • Associate Professor Clare Delany               MDHS (Medical Education Department)
  • Associate Professor David Smallwood, MD          MDHS (Medical Education Department)

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.

Research Publications

The growth mindset response to clinical error program, Learning and Teaching Initiative Grants, Klein J, Delany C, Fischer M, Trumble S, Smallwood D

Research Group

Student Engagement and Experience



Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Integrated Critical Medicine



Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Medical Education