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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.
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.
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.
El Hechi MW, Bohnen JD, Westfal M, et al. J Am Coll Surg. 2019;230:926-933.
This paper describes the implementation of a "second victim" peer-support program in the surgery department at a tertiary care center. The program trained surgical attendings and trainees to provide peer-support for other surgeons involved in major adverse events. After one-year follow-up, 81% of affected surgeons elected to receive peer support. The majority (81%) felt the program had a positive impact on safety culture by providing a confidential, safe, and timely intervention for so-called "second victims". A 2011 Perspective on Safety with Dr. Albert Wu discussed ways that organizations can support "second victims."
Winning AM, Merandi JM, Lewe D, et al. J Adv Nurs. 2018;74:172-180.
Errors can take a significant emotional toll on health care workers, often referred to as the second victim effect. In this survey study, researchers found that neonatal intensive care unit providers involved an adverse event were more likely to experience anxiety and depression. Perceiving coworkers as supportive appeared to moderate this effect.
Coughlan B, Powell D, Higgins MF. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2017;213:11-16.
Maternity care is a high-risk environment. This review discusses second victims in regard to maternity care. The authors highlight the importance of safety culture, disclosure, and peer support as mechanisms to address the needs of staff after adverse events.
Han K, Bohnen JD, Peponis T, et al. J Am Coll Surg. 2017;224:1048-1056.
Health care providers who experience psychological harm associated with adverse events are often referred to as second victims. This survey of surgeons found that the majority who could recall an intraoperative adverse event experienced negative emotions, and only a minority accessed formal support systems. This work emphasizes the need to build systems to provide support for second victims.