Special Issue "The Second Victim Phenomenon: Implications and Solutions to Support Health Worker Safety"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Care Sciences & Services".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2023.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Reinhard Strametz
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Wiesbaden Business School, RheinMain University of Applied Science, 65183 Wiesbaden, Germany
Interests: patient safety; clinical risk management; quality of care; resilience and psychosocial support for health care workers; second victim phenomenon
Dr. Susanna Tella
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
LAB University of Applied Sciences, 53850 Lappeenranta, Finland
Interests: learning about patient safety; action after adverse events; second victim phenomenon; psychological safety and support

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Healthcare is associated with a relevant risk that may lead to avoidable harm of patients and their next of kin, the so-called first victims who should be supported best to cope with this situation. However, healthcare providers may also be harmed due to this event, needing support to move on. Albert Wu coined the term “second victim” (Wu, 2000) for those “health care provider[s] involved in an unanticipated adverse patient event, medical error and/or a patient related-injury who become victimized in the sense that the provider is traumatized by the event” (Scott, 2010).

Being a second victim may lead to dysfunctional coping strategies, reducing both health worker wellbeing and safety of care for further patients of affected healthcare workers. Although research indicates that second victim traumatization is a common phenomenon among all healthcare workers, this topic is still regarded as taboo in many healthcare organizations. leading to stigmatization and discrimination of those suffering from being traumatized as second victims.

Second victim traumatization is clearly a common work-related trauma for healthcare workers, urging occupational medicine to foster knowledge about this phenomenon and development and implementation of evidence-based support programs to be available for all healthcare workers if needed. While somatic health worker safety has led to enormous improvement for health worker safety, it is now time to build up and distribute psychological PPE.

Papers adding relevant knowledge to all aspects of the second victim phenomenon are invited to this Special Issue.

Prof. Dr. Reinhard Strametz
Dr. Susanna Tella
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • second victim
  • health worker safety
  • patient safety
  • psychological support
  • resilience in health care

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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