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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Coping with medical error: a systematic review of papers to assess the effects of involvement in medical errors on healthcare professionals' psychological well-being.

Sirriyeh R, Lawton R, Gardner P, et al. Qual Saf Health Care. 2010;19(6):e43.

Committing a medical error can have profound emotional effects on providers, to the point that clinicians have been termed the "second victim" of errors. This systematic review found that feelings of guilt, shame, and loss of confidence were widespread among clinicians after involvement in an error. However, few studies addressed coping strategies for affected professionals, and those that did generally described existing workplace support structures as inadequate. Some studies report that discussion of errors with colleagues is generally beneficial, and institutions have begun to implement innovative curricula and support systems to aid professionals who have been involved in an error.