Caring for each other
Second Victim Syndrome can occur after a health care employee experiences a traumatic or unanticipated event involving a patient.
By Allison Wilson
Severe traumas, injuries and illnesses don’t just affect our patients. They can affect the clinical teams who care for them, too — personally and professionally. Second Victim Syndrome, characterized by symptoms of anxiety, depression and feelings of doubt, can occur after a health care employee experiences a traumatic or unanticipated event involving a patient.
Nursing leaders and the UF&Shands Quality team became more in tune with the issue of Second Victim Syndrome and its impact on employees by evaluating psychological-first-aid programs at other institutions, many of which provided services through peer-based, clinician volunteers.
In February, the Shands Department of Nursing and Patient Services received a $24,000 Clinical Quality Award grant from the State University System of Florida and the UF College of Medicine Office of Continuing Medical Education to launch the 18-month Care for Colleagues program for Shands employees. The grant funds will be used to train approximately 30 clinician volunteers.
“We’re really hoping for these trained volunteers to be peer responders for their colleagues so no one has to face this alone,” said Virginia Pesata, D.N.P., A.R.N.P., N.E.A.-B.C., D.P.N.A.P., Shands Professional Nursing Practice administrative director. “We all need to care for each other, through these times and all the time.”