Peer support in anesthesia: turning war stories into wellness

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Purpose of review

Peer support, a method of providing for the well being of healthcare providers following adverse or stressful events, is garnering increased attention in light of the increased prevalence and awareness of burnout, depression and suicidality in physicians. In this review, we will summarize the evolution of the ‘second victim,’ explore methods of support and examine how new regulatory requirements are changing the peer support landscape.

Recent findings

As peer support and the second victim are investigated more, themes are emerging regarding the natural history of recovery. As these are delineated, more targeted peer support models are being developed. One major change in 2017 is the institution of new Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education's Common Program Requirements, now including topics targeted on well being.


Effective and accessible peer support is developing in many departments nationwide and can only be expected to continue, given new regulatory requirements. As these programs develop, and research on their effect continues, best practices will likely emerge.

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