Support for the Second Victim: Caring for Our Own

Part of AACN Critical Care Webinar Series

Presenter(s): Susan D Scott, PhD, RN, CPPS, FAAN

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Webinar Summary

It is estimated that as many as half of all healthcare providers will experience the impact of the second victim phenomenon at least once during their careers. The stress, anxiety, and guilt a clinician may experience as the result of an adverse clinical event can be devastating, and can have both short and long term impact on their health and career. Nurses and physicians rarely discuss mistakes with their colleagues, and hospitals do not hold much tolerance for medical errors. Creating a process where these providers can quickly and confidentially obtain support can have significant impact on the individual’s ability to process these feelings and heal. This webinar will explore the second victim phenomenon, the insights gained from healthcare providers as they experience an event, and the support interventions that have been demonstrated to have a positive impact on the second victim’s outcomes. Learn how you can support a colleague in such a situation.


  • Identify the phenomenon of the Second Victim.
  • Briefly describe the predictable trajectories a Second Victim may experience.
  • Discuss the kinds of support that help a Second Victim process and move past an event.


Susan D Scott, PhD, RN, CPPS, FAAN

Susan D Scott, PhD, RN, CPPS, FAAN

Susan Donnell Scott is manager of Patient Safety and Risk Management at University of Missouri (MU) Health in Columbia, Missouri. Dr. Scott’s research on the unique needs of clinicians during the aftermath of unexpected clinical events has allowed her to design and deploy the ‘first of its kind’ peer support network, the forYOU Team. This evidence-based, holistic approach to institutional support promotes psychological safety of staff during this stressful period. She serves as director of MU Health Care’s forYOU Team which has become an international model for healthcare organizations seeking to deploy peer support structures. Through numerous peer-reviewed articles and presentations, her research findings reach a wide audience of healthcare providers, patient safety researchers, policymakers and healthcare administrators, establishing the understanding of second victimization and necessary interventional support. She has partnered with agencies such as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, American Hospital Association, The Joint Commission, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and Medically Induced Trauma Support Services to ensure that comprehensive second victim support interventions are accessible to healthcare institutions around the globe.

Continuing Education Disclosure Statement

Successful Completion

Learners must attend/view/read the entire activity and complete the associated evaluation to be awarded the contact hours or CERP. No partial credit will be awarded.


This activity has been reviewed by the Nurse Planner. It has been determined that the material presented here shows no bias. Approval of a continuing education activity does not imply endorsement by AACN or ANCC of any commercial products displayed or discussed in conjunction with the activity.


The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC's) Commission on Accreditation, ANCC Provider Number 0012 (60 min contact hour). AACN has been approved as a provider of continuing education in nursing by the California State Board of Nursing, California Provider number CEP01036 for 0.9 contact hours (50 min contact hour).

AACN programming meets the standards for most states that require mandatory continuing education contact hours for license and/or certification renewal. AACN recommends consulting with your state board of nursing or credentialing organization before submitting CE to fulfill continuing education requirements.