Abstract – Establishing a Peer Support Program in the Acute Care Setting
INTRODUCTION: The purpose of the evidence-based project was to determine if implementing a peer support program will minimize the trauma experienced by HCPs following unanticipated adverse events. Based on the forYOU Program designed by Sue Scott at the University of Missouri Health System, this program trained peers to offer real-time caring and support to other clinicians coping with such events.
BACKGROUND: Most healthcare professionals are involved in at least one adverse event in their careers. Albert Wu, MD (2000) coined the term second victim to capture the essence of the trauma experienced by healthcare professionals when an unanticipated event negatively impacts a patient. When left unchecked, this trauma can result in moral distress, stress disorders, and burnout as the clinician ruminates over the event. Providing emotional support has been shown to improve the emotional wellbeing and recovery of second victims. Therefore, health care leaders are encouraged to develop comprehensive programs to provide easy access to peer and social support when they experience an adverse event.
METHODS: Designed for implementation in the Women’s Service Department of a 350-bed southwestern hospital, this project employed a pre-/post-evaluation of subjective outcomes using an online survey for nurses. A core group of trainers attended a two-day peer support train-the-trainer event hosted by the forYou Program at the University of Missouri Health Care System. This group initially trained 12 peer supporters from both shifts representing the four departments in Women’s Services. Baseline data was collected (n=79)? to assess the frequency and impact of unanticipated adverse events, the perception of support received, and the type of support received. Following the four-month implementation in the Summer/Fall of 2020, post-data was obtained, including a program awareness assessment (n=17)?.