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#MedEdPearls February 2020: Psychological Safety and Accountability - The Secret Sauce of Health Professions Education

Think of a time when you were a member of an effective team (that was diverse or geographically dispersed. Why was it effective? How did this make you feel as a team member?

In her recent book “The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth,” Dr. Amy Edmondson shares from her 20+ years of research demonstrating that psychological safety is required for effective teamwork and learning.

Psychological safety is a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. Edmondson describes the “learning zone” as a combination of high accountability and psychological safety. For example, when you look back over the most recent #MedEdPearls, you will find that accountability and psychological safety foundational to creating a learning environment which supports, providing effective feedback, and encouraging students to engage in the active learning strategies that “Make it Stick.” 

Edmondson also provides strategies for inclusive leaders that are applicable to educators. Inclusive leaders:

  • Are accessible
  • Proactively invite input
  • Acknowledge their own fallibility
  • Lower the psychological costs of speaking up
  • Raise the psychological costs of silence

Join the #MedEdPearls Twitter discussion to share how you apply these strategies while teaching trainees!

#MedEdPearls are developed monthly by the Central Group on Educational Affairs. Previously, #MedEdPearls explored topics including a transformational book for educators, writing multiple choice questions, and small group instructional diagnosis.


Author BIO

Larry Hurtubise, MA (2.0, ’16) is the Director of the Office of Educational Innovation and Scholarship at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy. Larry’s areas of professional interest include the professional development of clinician educators, health professions education research and educational technology. Larry can be followed on Twitter and or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Comments 1

Guest - Arhaan on Monday, 24 February 2020 01:00
Medical Education

"Thank you for sharing such great information.
It has help me in finding out more detail about medical education"

"Thank you for sharing such great information. It has help me in finding out more detail about medical education"
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Sunday, 28 November 2021