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The Second Victim Experience and Support Tool

Validation of an Organizational Resource for Assessing Second Victim Effects and the Quality of Support Resources

Burlison, Jonathan D. PhD*; Scott, Susan D. PhD; Browne, Emily K. DNP; Thompson, Sierra G.*; Hoffman, James M. PharmD

doi: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000000129
Original Articles

Objectives Medical errors and unanticipated negative patient outcomes can damage the well-being of health care providers. These affected individuals, referred to as “second victims,” can experience various psychological and physical symptoms. Support resources provided by health care organizations to prevent and reduce second victim–related harm are often inadequate. In this study, we present the development and psychometric evaluation of the Second Victim Experience and Support Tool (SVEST), a survey instrument that can assist health care organizations to implement and track the performance of second victim support resources.

Methods The SVEST (29 items representing 7 dimensions and 2 outcome variables) was completed by 303 health care providers involved in direct patient care. The survey collected responses on second victim–related psychological and physical symptoms and the quality of support resources. Desirability of possible support resources was also measured. The SVEST was assessed for content validity, internal consistency, and construct validity with confirmatory factor analysis.

Results Confirmatory factor analysis results suggested good model fit for the survey. Cronbach α reliability scores for the survey dimensions ranged from 0.61 to 0.89. The most desired second victim support option was “A respected peer to discuss the details of what happened.”

Conclusions The SVEST can be used by health care organizations to evaluate second victim experiences of their staff and the quality of existing support resources. It can also provide health care organization leaders with information on second victim–related support resources most preferred by their staff. The SVEST can be administered before and after implementing new second victim resources to measure perceptions of effectiveness.

From the *Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee; †Patient Safety and Risk Management, University of Missouri Health Care/Sinclair School of Nursing, Columbia, Missouri; ‡Department of Nursing Research, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; and §Department of Clinical Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, Memphis, Tennessee.

Correspondence: James M. Hoffman, PharmD, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, MS 150, Memphis, TN 38105 (e-mail:

The authors disclose no conflict of interest.

Supported by the Cancer Center Core Grant # NCI CA 21765 and the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC).

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