How to be a first responder for colleagues after adverse events: Instituting a peer support program in the emergency department
Author DetailsKerry A. Gold, BSN, RN, CCRN, CEN, MICN; Melissa Connor, MPH, BSN, RN, CEN; Ashley Trueblood BSN, RN, CCRN, CPHQ
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Healthcare workers exposed to adverse events can suffer emotional and physical consequences, often referred to as “second-victim” or “identified individual” After an adverse event occurs, there may be immediate, midterm, and delayed harm to the caregivers involved, including: increased depression, anxiety about future errors, loss of confidence, sleeping difficulties, reduced job satisfaction, and harm to their reputation. In our health system, the Emergency Department (ED) is subject to the highest number of staff assaults, workplace violence and critical events. With this knowledge, an interdisciplinary team was created to address the issues. The objective was to implement a peer support team that is available 24/7 to provide crisis support interventions to employees after situations that are emotionally challenging and stressful and to offer additional resources and follow up. The goals are to increase institutional awareness of second-victim phenomenon, provide consistent, confidential and targeted support to employees after distressing situations and provide resources for leadership and management teams.