Curated Collection for Educators: Five Key Papers About Second Victim Syndrome

Cureus. 2019 Mar 6;11(3):e4186. doi: 10.7759/cureus.4186.


Second victim syndrome (SVS) is defined as the psychological or emotional suffering of healthcare workers as a result of a patient adverse, or near miss, event. Initially thought to be related to medical error, we now recognize that SVS can result from a much wider range of circumstances including adverse pediatric patient events, unanticipated deaths, or patients well known to the provider. Residents are particularly susceptible to SVS yet relatively little is written about this topic targeted at their educators. Since educators are positioned to help recognize and guide learners through the experience, this paper targets that reader audience. In this article, we identify and summarize five key papers relevant to educators interested in learning more about SVS as it relates to learners. We identified an extensive list of papers relevant to SVS via online discussions within the Academic Life in Emergency Medicine (ALiEM) Faculty Incubator. The Faculty Incubator is a digital community of practice providing professional development for educators. This list was augmented by an open call on Twitter seen by over 2000 people and yielding a list of 31 papers. We then conducted a three-round modified Delphi process within the authorship group, which included both junior and senior clinician educators, to identify the most impactful papers for educators interested in SVS. The three-round modified Delphi process ranked all papers submitted for review and used iterative rounds to select the five highest-rated papers for inclusion in this article. The group then summarized each of the five papers with specific consideration for junior faculty educators and faculty developers with an interest in SVS in learners. The five papers featured in this article serve as a key reading list for educators across specialties interested in SVS and our commentary provides context for medical educators using the articles.

Keywords: curated collection; faculty development; junior educators; medical education; modified delphi; resilience; second victim syndrome; wellness.

Publication types

  • Review