Physician trainees in obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) experience unexpected outcomes similar to those of supervising physicians. A relative lack of experience and perspective may make them more vulnerable to second victim experience (SVE), however.
The objectives of our study were to contrast the prevalence of SVE between supervising physicians and trainees and to identify their preferred methods of support.
In 2019, the Second Victim Experience and Support Tool, a validated survey with supplemental questions, was administered to healthcare workers caring for OBGYN patients at a large academic center in the midwestern United States.
The survey was sent to 571 healthcare workers working in OBGYN. A total of 205 healthcare workers completed the survey, including 18 (43.9% of 41) supervising physicians and 12 (48.0% of 25) resident/fellow physicians. The mean scores for the Second Victim Experience and Support Tool dimensions and outcomes were similar between the two groups. Seven (58.3%) trainees reported feeling like a second victim after an adverse patient safety event at some point in their work experience compared with 10 (55.6%) of the supervising physicians. Five (41.7%) trainees identified as a second victim in the previous 12 months compared with 3 (16.7%) supervising physicians (P = 0.21). The most common form of desired support for both groups was conversations with their peers.
Trainees and supervising physicians are both at risk of SVE after an unexpected medical event and prefer conversations with peers as a desired form of support. Because trainees commonly encounter SVEs early in their careers, program directors should consider implementing a program for peer support after an unexpected event.
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