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driving the conversation and researching
the effects of shame

Despite the ubiquitous nature of shame in humans and the challenging environments in which health professionals work and learn, little empiric focus has been paid to its role in healthcare. We are part of a small but growing group of researchers are addressing this gap by characterizing the nature of shame, exploring ways to drive meaningful culture change in healthcare, and promoting resilience development in healthcare professionals and trainees.

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This project, led by consortium member

Luna Dolezal, is producing immersive and transformative research about the role of shame in various aspects of health and medicine, including clinical practice, patient experience and medical student education. Their work is rapidly-growing and game-changing.


A Qualitative Exploration of Shame in Medical Learners

This qualitative research program, led by consortium member Will Bynum, explores the nature of shame experiences across the continuum of medical education. Centering on four empiric research studies, this collection of articles also includes scholarly commentaries, perspectives, and methods papers.



  • Whelan B, Hjörleifsson S, Schei E. Shame in medical clerkship: "You just feel like dirt under someone's shoe". Perspect Med Educ. 2021;10(5):265-271.

  • Boehm KS, McGuire C, Boudreau C, et al. The Shame-Blame Game: Is It Still Necessary? A National Survey of Shame-based Teaching Practice in Canadian Plastic Surgery Programs. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2019;7(2):e2152.

  • Yancey NR. Shame in Teaching-Learning: A Humanbecoming Perspective. Nurs Sci Q. 2021 Apr;34(2):125-129.

  • Schill A, Hayton A. Helping residents connect by teaching shame resilience. Med Educ. 2019 Nov;53(11):1143-1144.

  • Shaw G. What ‘Learning by Shame’ Does to Young Doctors. Emergency Medical News. May 2019. Click here.

  • Case GA, Pippitt KA, Lewis BR. Shame. Perspect Med Educ. 2018;7(Suppl 1):12-15.

  • Shapiro MC, Rao SR, Dean J, Salama AR. What a Shame: Increased Rates of OMS Resident Burnout May Be Related to the Frequency of Shamed Events During Training. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2017 Mar;75(3):449-457.

  • Hautz WE, Schröder T, Dannenberg KA, März M, Hölzer H, Ahlers O, Thomas A. Shame in Medical Education: A Randomized Study of the Acquisition of Intimate Examination Skills and Its Effect on Subsequent Performance. Teach Learn Med. 2017 Apr-Jun;29(2):196-206.

  • McMains KC, Peel J, Weitzel EK, Der-Torossian H, Couch M. Perception of Shame in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Training. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015;153(5):786-90.

  • Lindström UH, Hamberg K, Johansson EE. Medical students' experiences of shame in professional enculturation. Med Educ. 2011 Oct;45(10):1016-24.

  • Bond ME. Exposing shame and its effect on clinical nursing education. J Nurs Educ. 2009 Mar;48(3):132-40.


  • Dolezal, L., Rose, A., and Cooper, F. COVID-19, Online Shaming and Healthcare Professionals. The Lancet. Vol 398. August 2021: 482-483

  • Carroll K. Shaming: Considerations for Practice. Nurs Sci Q. 2021 Apr;34(2):130-131

  • Greenlees G, Archer L. Guilt, shame and negative emotion in undergraduate medical education: is there a role for Balint groups? Med Humanit. 2021 Sep 11:medhum-2020-012124.

  • Miles, S. Addressing shame: What role does shame play in the formation of a modern medical professional identity? BJPsych Bulletin. 2020;44(1):1-5.

  • Robertson JJ, Long B. Medicine's Shame Problem. J Emerg Med. 2019 Sep;57(3):329-338.

  • Lyons, B., Gibson, M., and Dolezal, L. Stories of Shame. The Lancet. Vol. 391, 2018: 1568-69

  • Aubin D, King S. The Healthcare Environment: A Perfect Ecosystem for Growing Shame. Healthc Q. 2018 Jan;20(4):31-36.

  • Shaughnessy MJ. Integrative Literature Review on Shame. Nurs Sci Q. 2018 Jan;31(1):86-94.

  • Zabari ML, Southern NL. Effects of Shame and Guilt on Error Reporting Among Obstetric Clinicians. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2018 Jul;47(4):468-478.

  • Dolezal L, Lyons B. Health-related shame: an affective determinant of health? Med Humanit. 2017 Dec;43(4):257-263.

  • Ferguson CC. The Emotional Fallout From the Culture of Blame and Shame. JAMA Pediatr. 2017 Dec 1;171(12):1141.

  • Lyons B, Dolezal L. Shame, stigma and medicine. Med Humanit. 2017 Dec;43(4):208-210.

  • Dolezal L. The phenomenology of shame in the clinical encounter. Med Health Care Philos. 2015 Nov;18(4):567-76.

  • Henderson M, Brooks SK, Del Busso L, Chalder T, Harvey SB, Hotopf M, Madan I, Hatch S. Shame! Self-stigmatisation as an obstacle to sick doctors returning to work: a qualitative study. BMJ Open. 2012 Oct 15;2(5):e001776.

  • Sanders K, Pattison S, Hurwitz B. Tracking shame and humiliation in Accident and Emergency. Nurs Philos. 2011 Apr;12(2):83-93.

  • Ofri D. Ashamed to admit it: owning up to medical error. Health Aff (Millwood). 2010 Aug;29(8):1549-51.

  • Harris CR, Darby RS. Shame in Physician–Patient Interactions: Patient Perspectives, Basic and Applied Social Psychology. 2009;31:4, 325-334.

  • Mehlman MJ. The shame of medical malpractice. J Leg Med. 2006 Mar;27(1):17-32.

  • Cunningham W, Wilson H. Shame, guilt and the medical practitioner. N Z Med J. 2003 Oct 10;116(1183):U629.

  • Davidoff F. Shame: the elephant in the room. BMJ. 2002;324(7338):623-624.

  • Lazare A. Shame and humiliation in the medical encounter. Arch Intern Med. 1987;147(9):1653-8.

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