Amarillo hospital adds team to help health care providers cope with grief and trauma

Updated: Nov. 12, 2020 at 6:33 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise in Amarillo, health care institutions continue to add resources to help employees cope.

“Our staff is starting to sink a little bit,” said Jeff Pugh, chaplain, Northwest Texas Healthcare System.

To help health care workers through the loss of a patient or any other traumatic experiences, Northwest Texas Hospital has added a member to their pastoral care department and is working on what’s called “Second Victim Team.”

Second Victims Team logo
Second Victims Team logo(KFDA)

The name comes from the second victim syndrome, which refers to a health care provider who suffers from caring for the patient.

“Sometimes we don’t deal with those things very well,” said Jennifer Moore, nurse at Northwest Texas Healthcare System.

“I really believe that we’re vulnerable creatures and when we’re able to really take care of the staff then we can all take care of the patients and families better,” said Pugh. “The Second Victims leaders will be able to be on call and walk the members of that team that’s struggling through the critical incident stress debriefing model and that model basically walks them through very structure, asked them questions, their thoughts, their feelings, about their story.”

For Jennifer Moore, who relies heavily on the pastoral care department, having that extra layer of support from her own peers is a huge relief.

“Lot of times we don’t take the time to discuss events that happen so, I think that it’ll be very good for the staff to have that ability to, you know, go even if is over a cup of coffee and talk about things,” said Moore. “I mean it’s tremendous stress relief to have them come by and to literally just give you a hug.”

The team is currently being trained and expected to be ready by December 1.

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