Q: Which roles should be trained as Peer Supporters? Should only nurses be trained as Peer Supporters?
A: Peer Support should be available for all role types– clinical, supportive, administrative– so it is best to train Peer Supporters of all role types. Roles of Peer Supporters can include nurses, nursing support staff, NP/PAs, residents, fellows, attendings, pharmacists, technicians, supervisors, administrative staff, and others.
Q: How many Peer Supporters should I get trained from my unit?
A: As a general rule, you should train as many nominees/volunteers as you can get, to ensure the availability and diversity of your Peer Supporter pool.
Q: Is Peer Support just for adverse events, or for difficult situations in general?
A: Peer Support is for ANY challenging event or situation. For example, a Peer may want support in grappling with a negative patient outcome, or may want guidance in navigating the unique challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q: What should I do if someone requests Peer Support to discuss grievances against another staff member?
A: Peer Support is not the appropriate resource to support staff grappling with the professional conduct of their colleagues. Staff professional conduct issues are strictly confidential and should not be discussed peer-to-peer. Support for this should rather be offered through the institution’s Human Resources department.
Q: Should Peer Supporters loop back to leadership, or interactions are meant to remain peer-to-peer?
A: Details of the outreach should remain confidential. The local or centralized Peer Support program may collect basic information on interventions and outcomes, such as whether a Peer Support Intervention occurred and when.
Q: How do I support the Peer Supporters?
A: Peer Supporters need support too. Peer Supporters should be encouraged to utilize their local or central Peer Support program, as well as other institutional support resources available. Quarterly Peer Supporter Community meetings should also be arranged to offer ongoing support and engagement for the Peer Supporter community.
Q: Can Peer Supporters facilitate group Peer Support discussions?
A: If a group of people were involved in an adverse event or difficult situation and would like to receive support as a group, they should be directed to an Employee Assistance Program or mental health professional. As a general rule, Peer Supporters are not trained to facilitate group interventions.