Assessing the Perceived Level of Institutional Support for the Second Victim After a Patient Safety Event

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The objective of this study was to establish a baseline of perceived availability of institutional support services or interventions and experiences following an adverse patient safety event (PSE) in a 650-bed children and adult community teaching hospital.


Investigators queried associates about their experiences after a PSE, what institutional support services or interventions they perceived to be available, and how helpful used services were. The investigators used an online modified version of a PSE survey developed by several health related organizations in Boston.


One hundred twenty evaluable surveys were analyzed. Sixty-eight percent of respondents were nurses, 99% of whom were female. Only 10% to 30% of respondents reported that various support services or interventions were actively offered, and 30% to 60% indicated that they were not available. Respondents reported having experienced several distressing symptoms after a PSE, most notably, troubling memories (56%) and worry about lawsuits (37%). Less than 32% “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that they could report concerns without fear of retribution or punitive action. More respondents experienced support from clinical colleagues (64%) than from their manager or department chair (38%).


These results validate a need by associates for emotional support after a PSE and that associates’ perception of available formal institutional support services or interventions is low.

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