The next step in developing your Peer Support program is to recruit and train Peer Supporters, the main building
blocks of the program.
Who Are Peer Supporters?
Peer Supporters are trusted and respected colleagues who are nominated by their colleagues and/or leadership. Peer Supporters complete the Peer Supporter Training to formally learn skills in active listening, education, confidentiality, and hospital resources and referrals.They are specially trained to provide effective emotional and practical guidance for their colleagues who have been involved in patient-related AEs.
Peer Supporters have “been in your shoes”; they are in similar roles, and understand, empathize, and have knowledge to share. They provide a compassionate listening ear, coping skills, and resource information for additional support and/or treatment.
Peer Supporters can come from any role within the institution, including nurses, nursing support staff, NPs/PAs, residents, fellows, attendings, pharmacists, technicians, supervisors, non-clinical/administrative staff, and others.
Characteristics of a Peer Supporter
- Excellent listening skills.
- Emotionally intelligent.
- Well-trusted and respected.
- Culturally competent
- Committed to staff well-being and support.
- Often already an informal Peer Supporter within their unit/department.
Peer Supporter Nomination
Peer Supporter nominations can be solicited by central and/or local leadership. Nomination requests can be distributed via emails, flyers, or other means of communication. Staff and/or leadership can submit nominations.
In general, as many nominees should be solicited and approved as possible. This ensures availability and diversity of Peer Supporters across the institution.
Nominations should be approved by local and/or central leadership and/or Human Resources to make sure the nominee is in good professional standing and has the bandwidth to bear the extra responsibilities of a Peer Supporter.
Peer Support Registration
Once a Peer Supporter nomination is approved, the nominee should be informed of their nomination and sent information about the Peer Support program, in the form of a brochure, informational packet, or summary email. The nominee should also be sent a link to register for a Peer Supporter training date via a Peer Supporter Training Registration Form.
In order to best match Peers with Peer Supporters of similar backgrounds and levels of experience, the following information about the Peer Supporters should be collected in the Peer Supporter Training Registration Form:
- Selected Peer Supporter Training date.
- Number of years in role.
- Phone number.
- Optional: Demographic information, such as gender identify, race, age, etc.
This information should be stored in a Central and/or Local Peer Supporter Directory, which can be housed in a spreadsheet or preferred data collection software. The Central Peer Supporter Directory will house information about all Peer Supporters across the institution, while the Local Peer Supporter Directories will house information about Peer Supporters from a particular unit/departmental Peer Support program.
Peer Support Trainning
Once a Peer Supporter nominee registers for a Peer Supporter Training, the nominee should be sent the prerequisite training materials, training agenda, and calendar invite for the training session date.
In order to facilitate the most effective informational learning and retention, and to provide accessible training for busy clinicians, the Peer Supporter Training should be divided into prerequisite study, a live virtual or in-person training, and regular follow-up review sessions. Below is a recommended Peer Supporter Training curriculum:
Recommended Peer Supporter Training Curriculum
Video and/or Written Content
|● Overview of Peer Support model|
● A clinician’s personal story
● Introduction to the steps of a Peer Support Intervention
● Peer Supporter Training slide deck independent review
|Live Virtual or In-Person Training||● In-depth review of the Steps of a Peer Support Intervention (see The Steps of a Peer Support Intervention below)|
● Watch Peer Support Simulation (live or pre-recorded)
● Breakout rooms for Peer Supporter role-play simulations based on sample clinical scenarios (If possible, 1 facilitator per 4 trainees is recommended in breakout rooms)
● Q&A Pane
|Review Sessions||● Review session 1-2 weeks after initial training|
● Quarterly Peer Supporter Community Meeting to facilitate ongoing engagement, best practice review, and support for Peer Supporters
● Mandatory annual training review for Peer Supporter status renewal
Peer Supporter Training Follow-Up Actions
Shortly after the training, a Training Feedback Survey should be sent to Peer Supporters to facilitate constructive feedback and ongoing improvement of the Peer Supporter Training, along with all the training materials. Peer Supporters should also be given access/added to shared folders, websites, the central and/or local Peer Supporter directories, and distribution lists. Local Peer Support Leads should be notified of trainee attendance, and absentees should be re-sent the Peer Supporter Training Registration Form to register for another training date.
Peer Supporter Nomination, Registration, and Training: To Do’s
|Nomination|| ☐ Create Peer Supporter nomination flyer/survey/email|
☐ Distribute Peer Supporter nomination flyer/survey/email
☐ Approve Peer Supporter nominations
|Registration|| ☐ Create Peer Supporter Training Registration Form|
☐ Create Peer Support program brochure/informational package/summary email
☐ Create central and/or local Peer Supporter directories in which to track Peer Supporter registration information
☐ Notify nominees of nomination, send program brochure/informational package/summary email and link to Peer Supporter Training Registration Form
|Training|| ☐ Book room (in-person or virtual) for Peer Supporter trainings|
☐ Create Peer Supporter training agenda, prerequisite materials/videos, and calendar invites
for the training session dates, and send to nominees
☐ Create Peer Supporter training slide deck, simulation video, and role-play simulation
scenarios for live in-person or virtual training
☐ Recruit Peer Supporter Training facilitators who will present the training materials and facilitate the breakout rooms and Q&A panel discussions during Peer Supporter trainings
☐ If doing live virtual training, recruit IT staff to provide technical support before and during
| ☐ Create Peer Supporter Training Feedback Survey|
☐ Send Peer Supporter Training Feedback Survey and training materials to Peer Supporters
☐ Notify local Peer Support Leads of trainee attendance
☐ Re-send registration link to absentee registrants to register for a new training date
☐ Give Peer Supporters access to any shared websites or folders
☐ Add Peer Supporters to central and/or local Peer Supporter directories
☐ Add Peer Supporters to relevant email groups/distribution lists
| ☐ Schedule and plan review session 1-2 weeks after initial training|
☐ Schedule and plan Quarterly Peer Supporter Community Meeting
☐ Schedule and create annual training review for Peer Supporter status renewal
|☐ Invest in a registration software that will house the Peer Supporter Training Registration Form, automatically send email confirmations and calendar invites to registrants, track registrants and attendance, and automatically send follow-up emails post-training|