Second victim support: nurses’ perspectives of organizational support

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Misty Britt Stone (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Susan Letvak

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to describe hospital nurses’ experiences with organizational support following an adverse event (AE). Additionally, this study explored the organization’s support programs’ usefulness and availability. AEs occur often in medical procedures and at all levels of the healthcare system. AEs are predictors of quality care and patient safety. While the exact number of AEs experienced by nurses annually remains unknown, it is suggested that all clinicians will experience at least one AE in their professional career. While research has placed great focus on AEs related to nursing through increasing patient safety by cultivating healthcare systems’ protocols and procedures, many times caring for the nurse following an AE is overlooked, leaving the nurse to experience professional and personal suffering. A thorough review of the literature identified the importance of providing support to nurses following an AE. However, research is lacking on the nurses’ experiences in regards to organizational support. Twelve hospital staff nurses who had experienced an AE participated in this qualitative descriptive study. Data were collected via in-depth, semi-structured, audiotaped interviews and analyzed using thematic analysis. Two themes with six subthemes emerged from data analysis. Theme 1 was “Weighing up internal and external resources” and consisted of four subthemes: (a) Types of support, (b) Desired support, (c) Barriers to receiving support, and (d) Availability of support. Theme 2 was, “Thoughts, feelings, and actions” and consisted of two subthemes: (a) Actions taken in the aftermath, and (b) Emotional state in the aftermath. Findings from the study have implications for nursing practice and research. Nurse managers and the organization play a dire role in providing support to nurses following an AE. Immediate actions that nurse managers should offer to nurses following an AE are unit-specific peer support, unlimited free counseling support, and the offer of time off.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Adverse events, Second victim support, Supporting nurses
Nurse practitioners
Medical errors

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