New England Surgical Society

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The Design and Impact of a Novel Surgery-Specific Second Victim Peer Support Program
Majed El Hechi1, *Jordan Bohnen1, *Maggie Westfal1, *Kelsey Han1, *Christy Cauley2, *Cameron Wright1, *John Schulz1, *Keith Lillemoe1, Haytham Kaafarani1
1Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA;2Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH

Objective: Surgeons are prone to feelings of sadness, guilt and anxiety when involved in major intraoperative adverse events (iAEs). We aimed to create a second victim peer support program for surgeons and surgical trainees.
Design: Interventional study.
Setting: Department of Surgery in a tertiary care academic hospital.
Participants: Surgical attendings and trainees as Peer Supporters or Affected Peers.
Interventions: A second victim peer-support program.
Main Outcome Measure(s): 1-Program design description. 2-One-year impact (number of interventions attempted and realized, feedback received from participants using an anonymous survey).
Results: The program was established using 5 steps: 1)creation of a conceptual framework, 2)choice of peer supporters, 3)training of peer supporters, 4)multi-faceted identification of major iAEs, and 5)design of a systematic intervention plan [Figure]. In one year, the program had 47 interventions distributed evenly between attendings and trainees;19% of affected peers opted out of receiving support. Most participants expressed their satisfaction with the programís confidentiality, the safe/trusting environment it provided, and timeliness of intervention (89%, 73%, and 83%, respectively);81% suggested that the program had a positive impact on the departmentís "safety and support" culture and would recommend the program to a colleague. Several areas for improvement were identified, such as the need for improved identification of events needing intervention and the need for increased awareness of the program.
Conclusions: We report the design and impact of the first surgery-specific peer support program in the US. Our one-year experience suggests that the program is highly utilized and well-received, albeit with opportunities for improvement.


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