Implementation of a "second victim" program in a pediatric hospital

Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2015 Apr 1;72(7):563-7. doi: 10.2146/ajhp140650.


Purpose: A formal support program for pharmacy employees involved in adverse drug events, patient-related injuries, and other traumatic work experiences is described.

Summary: Healthcare workers are sometimes referred to as the "second victims" of patient care mishaps due to the anxiety, loss of confidence, and career uncertainty they may experience. After a survey indicating that about 30% of its staff had been involved in a second-victim event, the Nationwide Children's Hospital (NCH) pharmacy department implemented a peer-based support initiative (the YOU Matter program) based on an established three-tiered intervention model. All staff members are trained to identify second victims. The core of the program is a team of trained peer supporters who serve as first responders; if additional support is required, referrals to behavioral health, social work, and employee assistance personnel are made as appropriate. Staff members involved in troubling work-related events can seek support via a Web-based portal for event reporting and discussion. Since the launch of the NCH second victim program, the team of trained peer supporters has been expanded from 13 to over 120. In a postimplementation survey, 85% of the NCH pharmacy department staff indicated that the YOU Matter program has been beneficial.

Conclusion: The majority of the NCH pharmacy staff reported that the department benefited from implementation of the second victim program. A survey conducted five months after implementation of the program revealed that 3 respondents had personally used the program and 11 had referred a coworker to a peer supporter.

MeSH terms

  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Hospitals, Pediatric / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Medical Errors*
  • Pharmacists
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital
  • Program Development
  • Social Support*