Saying sorry is an important element of open disclosure and psychological safety – and therefore clinical governance. It is also an extremely powerful yet simple way to make people ‘feel better’. Saying sorry conveys empathy, compassion, and respect towards the person receiving the apology, not to mention remorse. It acknowledges an acceptance that your actions (or words) can adversely impact others, and is the opposite of defensiveness (which is counter-productive). Apologising is not taking the blame, nor is it an admission of liability. Saying sorry is about being accountable, accepting responsibility, and restoring trust in a relationship.
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