Yes, what they say is true -- nobody's perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. In the healthcare world, making mistakes can be harmful to a patient, so it's crucial to be on your "A game" at all times. Still, mistakes can and will happen -- it's inevitable.
Once you've made a mistake, it's important to own up to it, no matter what field you work in. Mistakes in the journalism world aren't as potentially devastating as those in the medical field, but they can still be pretty bad.
One day when I was interning for a weekly paper in Allentown, PA, I was copy editing some stories. I kept seeing the word "mills" in a story. I assumed the writer was abbreviating the word "millions." I went back and changed all the "mills" to "millions."
Little did I know that "mills" is a term used in discussing property or millage tax, not an abbreviation for "millions." Stupid mistake, right?
Thankfully, my boss caught it before the newspaper went to print. She explained to me what "mills" stood for, and I admitted to my dumb mistake and apologized for not asking her for clarification of the term before I made the changes. It also helped that we joked about it for a few days afterwards -- I felt like my boss wasn't mad at me and that my mistake was forgiven. And I learned an important lesson -- to always ask someone if I didn't understand something, and not just change it on my own.
Judy Carter, a motivational humorist, suggests when you need a work "do-over" that you immediately admit your mistake. "If your mistake is obvious, don't try to pretend it didn't happen. Don't diminish its importance, defend it or make excuses for it. Simply admit the error and ask for the chance to rectify it," she noted. If you come prepared for a solution to your mistake, that's a bonus!
It's good to keep a sense of humor about your mistake, but obviously this all depends on the seriousness of it. It's one thing if you accidentally spill food all over the break room floor. It's another if you accidentally switch a patient's lab results. But no matter what, admitting to what you've done is key. "A good boss knows that everyone makes mistakes, but it takes a truly trustworthy employee to fess up," Carter said.
When was a time that you made a mistake, and how was it rectified or solved?