New Patient Safety Primer from AHRQ on Second Victims

July 28, 2015    |   By: Calevir

New Patient Safety Primer from AHRQ on Second Victims

A health professional is often required to put emotions aside for the sake of their patients. But despite the emotional resilience that allows healthcare providers to care for their patients under stressful, high-stakes circumstances, an unexpected clinical event or outcome can have a heavy emotional impact.  Named Second Victims’ by Albert Wu, these health care professionals often struggle alone.

Second Victims are healthcare team members involved in an unanticipated patient event, a medical error and/or a patient related injury and become victimized in the sense that they are traumatized by the event.  Frequently, these individuals feel personally responsible for the patient outcome.  Many feel as though they have failed the patient, second guessing their clinical skills and knowledge base.

If a healthcare employer lacks a structured coping method, the second victim response can result in career-altering experiences for even the most engaged professionals.  Learn more about the Second Victim Experience.

In collaboration with the University of Missouri Health System Second Victim Program, the Center for Patient Safety is pleased to host the following workshops:

  • Train-the-Trainer Workshop in Saint Louis, Missouri. Registration is limited!  Read more.
  • Free Second Victim webinar for EMS providers – “Second Victim: Caring for the Caregiver”.  Read more.

Read the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality’s Patient Safety Primer:  Support for Clinicians Involved in Errors and Adverse Events (Second Victims).


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The Center for Patient Safety believes that collaboration and sharing are the best ways to drive improvement. We strive to provide the right solutions and resources to improve healthcare safety and quality.