Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) in complex systems: cultural adaptation and safety impacts in healthcare.Accid Anal Prev. 2014 Jul; 68:172-80.AA
In complex systems, such as hospitals or air traffic control operations, critical incidents (CIs) are unavoidable. These incidents can not only become critical for victims but also for professionals working at the "sharp end" who may have to deal with critical incident stress (CIS) reactions that may be severe and impede emotional, physical, cognitive and social functioning. These CIS reactions may occur not only under exceptional conditions but also during every-day work and become an important safety issue. In contrast to air traffic management (ATM) operations in Europe, which have readily adopted critical incident stress management (CISM), most hospitals have not yet implemented comprehensive peer support programs. This survey was conducted in 2010 at the only European general hospital setting which implemented CISM program since 2004. The aim of the article is to describe possible contribution of CISM in hospital settings framed from the perspective of organizational safety and individual health for healthcare professionals. Findings affirm that daily work related incidents also can become critical for healthcare professionals. Program efficiency appears to be influenced by the professional culture, as well as organizational structure and policies. Overall, findings demonstrate that the adaptation of the CISM program in general hospitals takes time but, once established, it may serve as a mechanism for changing professional culture, thereby permitting the framing of even small incidents or near misses as an opportunity to provide valuable feedback to the system.