ENRST Second Victim Course 2023

The European second victim researchers of the ERNST are excited to announce the launch of a new “European Course on Second Victims” this Tuesday, May 9th 2023. This course was developed by the ERNST consortium as part of COST Action CA19113, which is supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology).

It is well known that mistakes and errors happen in healthcare, even for highly competent health and care providers. When an adverse patient event occurs, naturally, patients and their families are the first victims of these sad events. The health and care providers are the second victims traumatized by the event. Their reactions can be such as guilt, shame, depression, and burnout, having acute but also long-term consequences. The second victim concept was first defined by prof. Albert Wu in 2000. ERNST has updated this definition, in 2022 (you can read the article here: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/19/24/16869) and it’s still adequate support and education is lacking. 

To address the gap, this free, self-paced course focuses on improving knowledge and skills related to second victims and the required support. The course aims to improve outcomes for both colleagues and patients. It includes lecture videos, infographics, case studies, and quiz questions to support learning in all levels. Participants will learn about the consequences of adverse patient events for victims, institutions, and health systems, and the relevance of promoting psychological safety. The course provides knowledge of how to support healthcare workers in the aftermath of stressful situations, and in the situations when things go wrong. Upon completion, participants will receive a certificate.

Professor Paulo Sousa (Working Group 3 Leader) believes that this course can make an interesting contribution to improving and reinforcing second victim awareness among healthcare professionals, leaders of healthcare institutions, and policymakers across European countries. The course is comprehensive, providing an initial introduction to the topic whilst also exploring the evolution of the concept over the last decade. With a theoretical component based on the latest evidence and the description, analysis, and discussion of case studies, the course is interesting and robust, reflecting a reality common to several European countries. To the best of our knowledge, there is limited training available in the area of the second victim. Therefore, this course can provide valuable support and serve as a starting point to inspire the development of educational and training programs in this area throughout different European countries. “I believe that this course, along with the various initiatives developed by the ERNST network (COST Action – CA 19113), represents a fundamental contribution to improving awareness and helping to harmonize and promote courses and training programs in the area of the second victim throughout Europe.” For example, Finnish Client and Patient Safety Center will provide the course in their learning environment to support the implementation of national patient safety strategy and second victim support preparedness.

The ERNST Consortium involves the presence of researchers from 30 European countries, that are working for better second victim support, sharing knowledge, and skills, and European preparedness in a COST Action ERNST.

It is crucial to protect the mental health and wellbeing of the health and care providers. They are under extreme pressure, facing job-related stress, and physical and mental health risks. European countries must prioritise the health and wellbeing of their health and care providers to ensure safe and high-quality care for their citizens. Europe needs to be prepared at every level.

ERNST Consortium

If you have any inquiries or require information regarding the usage of the course, please do not hesitate to contact course@cost-ernst.eu

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