Evaluation of a Second Victim Peer Support Program on Perceptions of Second Victim Experiences and Supportive Resources in Pediatric Clinical Specialties Using the Second Victim Experience and Support Tool (SVEST)

Published:September 07, 2021DOI:


      • Second victim peer support programs aim to offload emotional labor and normalize the second victim experience
      • There is a need to evaluate the impact of second victim peer support programs
      • The Second Victim Experience and Support Tool evaluated the impact of a peer support program on second victim experiences
      • Peer support programs may foster increased awareness of ‘second victim’ experiences and a decrease in turnover intentions



      Pediatric healthcare professionals (HCPs) may experience events that lead to psychological distress or second victim experiences (SVEs). This project evaluates the impact of a newly implemented peer support program on SVEs and perceptions of supportive resources among pediatric HCPs.

      Design and methods

      A second victim (SV) peer support program was implemented in the pediatric inpatient and intensive care units in September 2019. Multidisciplinary HCPs in these units were invited to participate in an anonymous survey that included the Second Victim Experience and Support Tool before and one-year after implementation. The survey assessed HCPs' SVEs, desired support, and perceptions of the peer support program.


      52.0% (194/373) completed the pre-implementation survey, and 43.9% (177/403) completed the post-implementation survey. At both timepoints, participants reported SV-related psychosocial distress, physical distress, or low professional self-efficacy; the most desired support was ‘a respected peer to discuss the details of what happened’. Following implementation of the peer support program, HCPs were significantly more likely to have heard of the term ‘second victim’ (51.8 vs. 74.0%; p < 0.001) and to have felt like there were adequate resources to support SVs (35.8% vs. 89.1%; p < 0.001). In the post-implementation survey, most respondents indicated a likelihood to use the program for themselves (65.7%) or colleagues (84.6%) after involvement in future traumatic clinical events.


      Implementation of a peer support program significantly influenced awareness and perceptions of support available for SV-related distress.

      Practice implications

      Peer support programs should be implemented to help HCPs navigate SVEs and decrease SV-related turnover intentions.


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