Date of Graduation

Summer 8-5-2021

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Sara Horton-Deutsch

Second Advisor

Leisel Buchner

Third Advisor

Tara O'Connor



Problem: Psychological impact of trauma on healthcare workers is profound, and if left unaddressed can debilitate its victims, depress morale, and undermine safety culture. When adverse events occur and focus is placed on providing care and support to patients and their families, the emotional support needs of healthcare workers must also be acknowledged.

Context: Frontline workers in the oncology unit of the medical center that is the setting for this project experience emotional distress as “second victims” of adverse patient events. Close relationships develop between providers and patients during long-term treatments. When unanticipated or adverse patient events there can be significant psychological impact on quality care at the bedside.

Interventions: Ten nurses or physicians from the oncology unit were recruited and trained to be peer-to-peer responders in the Team RISE program from Johns Hopkins.

Measures:. The outcome measure was to foster awareness of second victims of unanticipated events and provide immediate emotional support to frontline healthcare workers. Two process measures evaluated the change in awareness and support provided by a peer responder team trained in Team RISE curriculum from Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Results: Ten peer responders (100% of recruits) participated fully in the meetings and two-day training, and completed pre and post implementation surveys at 100%. Knowledge of the second victim phenomenon increased by 23% from 78% pre-survey to 96% post-survey. Pre-implementation only 65% of participants would reach out to a peer compared to 100% post-implementation, a 54% increase. Willingness to engage a peer for support increased by 31%, from 60% before training to 91% after training.

Conclusions: This project displayed the effective implementation of a peer to peer support program in addressing second victim phenomenon from an organizational approach. A peer responder program fosters a greater awareness of second victims and provides support to frontline healthcare workers who experience trauma from adverse patient events.

Key words: second victim, trauma, resilience, emotional distress