Building 2nd Victim Support in Your Disclosure Program
Supporting clinicians or 2nd victims impacted by adverse medical events is a budding field in medicine. In fact, the last two hospitals I helped with implementation of their disclosure programs the medical staff listed support of 2nd victims as their top desire or want from the disclosure program. There are many disclosure programs out there, and a handful of well-run 2nd victim support programs....but the two ideas -- disclosure and 2nd victim support -- have not been married together. They need to be, and it shouldn't be that tough. We're basically talking about the same skill set for both: Providing empathy, compassion, and on-going support for traumatized people, whether those people are patients and families OR doctors and nurses. Now, there are some nuisances when it comes to taking care of clinicians, but it's not really rocket science. Don't yell at doctors and nurses involved in adverse events. Don't shame or call them names. Tell them you are sorry, be there for them, provide emotional support for clinicians and their families, and keep following up (including professional counseling, if necessary). The same team that helps with disclosure can also assist with 2nd victim support.
In developing the new Sorry Works! Tool Kit Book, I wrote an entire chapter on 2nd victim support programs and how this important concept needs to be hard-wired into your disclosure program. The Tool Kit is a must-have for c-suite, risk, legal, claims, and medical and nursing leaders who are developing or trying to sustain a successful disclosure program. To order your copy of the Tool Kit, just click here.