ASHRM Webinar: Second Victim Intervention Starts with Awareness of Phenomenon

February 24, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


Awareness of the phenomenon of a second victim following unanticipated healthcare outcomes and medical errors is the first intervention to support healthcare clinicians involved in these events, says Susan Scott, R.N., M.S.N., patient safety, interim manager, Office of Clinical Effectiveness, University of Missouri Health Care System. Scott described the system’s support network for second victims during the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management’s (ASHRM) February 14, 2012, webinar “Have a Heart: Caring for Our Own.” Second victims are the healthcare team members who, in addition to a patient involved in an adverse event, “become victimized in the sense that they are traumatized by the event.” When Scott began research at the Missouri health system to understand second victims’ needs, she was overwhelmed by the number of people willing to come forward to talk about their experience and took that as a sign that second victims’ needs are unmet. She found that medical errors and unanticipated patient outcomes were equally devastating to the healthcare team and that second victims—regardless of whether they were a physician, nurse, or other member of the healthcare team—responded in a predictable manner.

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