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Durham Research Online
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Support for Healthcare Professionals After Surgical Patient Safety Incidents: A Qualitative Descriptive Study in 5 Teaching Hospitals

Serou, Naresh and Husband, Andy K. and Forrest, Simon P. and Slight, Robert D. and Slight, Sarah P. (2021) 'Support for Healthcare Professionals After Surgical Patient Safety Incidents: A Qualitative Descriptive Study in 5 Teaching Hospitals.', Journal of Patient Safety, 17 (5). pp. 335-340.

Abstract

Objective Patient safety incidents can have a profound effect on healthcare professionals, with some experiencing emotional and psychological distress. This study explored the support medical and nonmedical operating room staff received after being involved in a surgical patient safety incident(s) in 5 UK teaching hospitals. Methods An invitation letter and information sheet were e-mailed to all medical and nonmedical operating room staff (N = 927) across the 5 sites. Semistructured interviews were arranged with a range of different healthcare professionals working in operating rooms across a wide variety of surgical specialities. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using an inductive thematic approach. Results We conducted 45 interviews with medical and nonmedical operating room staff, who emphasized the importance of receiving personalized support soon after the incident. Operating room staff described how the first “go to” people were their peers and reported feeling comforted when their peers empathized with their own experience(s). Other participants found it very difficult to seek support, perceiving it as a sign of weakness. Although family members played an important role in supporting second victims, some participants felt unable to discuss the incident with them, fearing that they might not understand. Conclusions There should be clear support structures in place for operating room staff who have been involved in surgical incidents. Health organizations need to offer timely support to frontline staff after these incidents. Senior clinicians should be proactive in offering support to junior colleagues and empathize with their own experiences, thus shifting the competitive culture to one of openness and support.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo until 01 August 2022.
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0.
File format - PDF
(255Kb)
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo until 01 August 2022.
(NA) Not Applicable
File format - PDF (Supplementary information )
(96Kb)
Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1097/PTS.0000000000000844
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:30 November 2021
Date of first online publication:01 August 2021
Date first made open access:01 August 2022

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