Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Melanie Braswell


In 1999, it was estimated that 98,000 deaths were attributed to medical errors and were the fourth most common cause of death in the United States. In 2016, medical errors were estimated as the third leading cause of death, with a mean death rate of 251,454 each year. Nurse involved in errors are known as second victims. Almost one in seven staff members reported that they had experienced a patient safety event within the last year that caused personal problems such as anxiety, depression, or concerns about their ability to perform their job. This project explored whether nurses are able to recognize physical and psychological effects of medical errors on nurses if provided education on second victims and their symptomatology. A pretest showed 18.75% of participants had heard the term second victim, 12.5% could name two symptoms of second victims, and 31.25% admitted to having participated in a medical error. After an education program, posttest results demonstrated 100% of participants had heard of second victims and could name two symptoms, while 68.5% admitted to participating in a medical error. Survey results demonstrated increased knowledge regarding second victims and associated symptomatology. This project may support social change through awareness of healthcare organizations and leaders regarding the need to support second victims following serious medical errors.