Second victims are healthcare employees who are involved in an unanticipated adverse patient event, a medical error and/or a patient-related injury and become victimised in the sense that the employee is traumatised by the event.
Frequently, these individuals feel personally responsible for the patient outcome. Many feel as though they have let the patient down, second-guessing their clinical skills and knowledge base. The impact on an employee involved in a patient incident can be personal and/or professional. Staff need to be supported to be self-compassionate, self-accepting, hopeful and forward looking.