Healthcare professionals involved in a medical error often experience psychological distress. This article describes the validation of a revised version of the Second Victim Experience and Support Tool (SVEST-R), which was expanded to include measures of resilience and desired forms of support.
Draus C, Mianecki TB, Musgrove H, et al. J Nurs Care Qual. 2022;37:110-116.
“Second victims” are healthcare providers who experience negative feelings in their personal or professional lives after being involved in unanticipated adverse patient events. One hundred and fifty-nine nurses at one American hospital reported being a second victim and experiencing psychological and/or physical distress following the incident.
Clinicians can experience adverse psychological consequences after making a mistake. This survey of 1,167 nurses found that social capital (both alone and in combination with psychological capital) has a significant impact on the severity of these adverse psychological outcomes.
There has been some controversy around the term ‘second victim.’ Based on qualitative interviews with representatives of medical training organizations and legal professionals in Ireland, this study found that the use of term ‘second victim’ can be seen as insensitive to the patient and can erode the professional identity of the healthcare provider.
Finney RE, Czinski S, Fjerstad K, et al. J Pediatr Nurs. 2021;61:312-317.
The term “second victim” refers to a healthcare professional who was involved in a medical error and subsequently experiences psychological distress. An American children’s hospital implemented a peer support program for “second victims” in 2019. Healthcare providers were surveyed before and after implementation of the program with results showing the highest ranked option for support following a traumatic clinical event is peer support. Most respondents indicated they were likely to use the program if a future clinical event were to occur.
Klatt TE, Sachs JF, Huang C-C, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47:759-767.
This article describes the implementation of a peer support program for “second victims” in a US healthcare system. Following training, peer supporters assisted at-risk colleagues, raised awareness of second victim syndrome, and recruited others for training. The effectiveness of the training was assessed using the Second Victim Experience Support Tool. The most common event supported was inability to stop the progress of a medical condition, including COVID-19.
Stovall M, Hansen L. Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. 2021;18:264-272.
Clinicians who are involved in a patient safety incident often experience significant emotional consequences. This study found that nurses involved in an patient safety incident resulting in patient death were more likely to change jobs, consider leaving the profession, and have suicidal ideation, compared to nurses involved in incidents that did not result in patient harm.
Clinicians involved in adverse events that harm patients can struggle to come to terms with error. This toolkit is designed to assist organizations in the development of initiatives to support clinicians and staff after an adverse event. Areas of focus include leadership buy-in, policy development, and training. An implementation guide is also provided.
Van Slambrouck L, Verschueren R, Seys D, et al. J Prof Nurs. 2021;37:765-770.
An online survey of nursing students in Belgium found that about one in three students were involved in a patient safety incident during their clinical training, and the majority experienced emotional distress after the event. Medical and nursing curriculum should include opportunities for competency development to support peers involved in patient safety incidents.
Fatima S, Soria S, Esteban- Cruciani N. BMC Med Educ. 2021;21:408.
Healthcare providers who are involved in a medical error and feel guilt, remorse, shame, and anger are sometimes referred to as “second victims”. This mixed-methods study surveyed medical residents about their well-being, coping strategies, and support following a self-perceived medical error. Residents reported feeling fear, shame, and feeling judged, and many used maladaptive strategies to cope.
Kappes M, Romero‐García M, Delgado‐Hito P. Int Nurs Rev. 2021;68:471-481.
Healthcare professionals who experience negative physical, psychological, or behavioral responses following an adverse event may be referred to as “second victims.” This review describes personal and organizational support strategies as well as barriers faced by second victims who are seeking support. The authors recommend further evaluation of support programs and implementation of support programs in Latin America.
Kruper A, Domeyer-Klenske A, Treat R, et al. J Surg Educ. 2021;78:1024-1034.
Physicians commonly experience adverse psychological outcomes after being involved in an adverse event. This mixed-methods study of health care providers in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at one large academic hospital found that three-quarters of providers experienced symptoms of traumatic stress after involvement in an adverse event. Respondents reporting anxiety were more likely to be interested in peer-to-peer support programs, whereas those reporting symptoms of guilt preferred debriefing sessions.
Amit Aharon A, Fariba M, Shoshana F, et al. J Clin Nurs. 2021;30:3290-3300.
Patient suicide attempts or completions can have negative psychological impacts on the nurses involved. This mixed-methods study found a significant association between emotional distress and feeling alone with absenteeism and higher staff turnover. Healthcare organizations should develop support programs for second victims to increase resiliency and potentially decrease absenteeism and turnover.
Busch IM, Moretti F, Campagna I, et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18:5080.
Clinicians involved in unexpected patient outcomes can experience negative emotions and frequently need access to second victim support programs. This systematic review describing 12 second victim support programs identifies staff benefits, implementation challenges, and experiences of peer supporters. Affected staff and peer supporters reported the benefits of the programs. Challenges included blame culture, limited awareness of program existence, and lack of financial resources. Findings indicate a need for implementing new second victim support programs, promoting current programs, and monitoring peer supporters’ well-being.
Shao Q, Wang Y, Hou K, et al. J Adv Nurs. 2021;77:4005-4016.
Patient suicide in all settings is considered a never event. Nurses caring for the patient may experience negative psychological symptoms following inpatient suicide. This review identified five themes based on nurses’ psychological experiences: emotional experience, cognitive experience, coping strategies, self-reflection, and impact on self and practice. Hospital administrators should develop education and support programs to help nurses cope in the aftermath of inpatient suicide.
Bailey E, Dungarwalla M. Prim Dent J. 2021;10:89-95.
Research into patient safety culture in primary dental care remains limited. This commentary provides an overview of patient safety in dentistry and tools to develop a robust patient safety culture, including human factors and supporting second victims.
Healthcare professionals who experience emotional consequences after adverse events are often referred to as “second victims.” Targeted towards certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), this article discusses second victim experiences in anesthesiology and implications for anesthesia education and training.
Peer support programs can help clinicians cope with the emotional consequences of involvement in an adverse event. This cross-sectional survey of Dutch nurses and doctors found that most respondents (86%) had been involved in a patient safety incident at some point during their career but only a small proportion sought out support in the aftermath of the incident.
Serou N, Husband AK, Forrest SP, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:335-340.
Clinicians involved in a medical error may experience emotional distress, shame, and self-doubt. This qualitative study with medical and non-medical operating room staff at five hospitals in the United Kingdom explored support received after involvement in a patient safety incident. Participants were most likely to receive support from their peers after a patient safety incident, but highlighted a lack of institutional-level emotional and professional support and the need to cultivate an organizational culture where seeking support is not perceived as a sign of weakness.
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