Self Care After a Critical Incident

education nurse burnout nurse wellbeing perioperativenursing safety Nov 06, 2023

🚨You caused a cardiac arrest today in a young patient by forgetting to prime a giving set. The patient was resuscitated safely, but you can’t stop thinking about it 😬😬

What can you expect to happen in the next few weeks?

This is a highly stressful situation for you, and being a healthcare worker with high personal standards, you will probably have intense feelings of guilt, shame and inadequacy. 😶‍🌫️

This is called “acute critical care disorder”, and it is a normal response to a very abnormal event. It may also impact your sleep, home life and perception of your future in nursing.

A critical incident is any event that overwhelms a person’s normal coping strategies. Here’s what the evidence suggests:

DO ✅

👉 Talk it out with a trusted colleague
👉 Keep your routine of sleeping, eating and exercising
👉 Remind yourself that you have never arrived at work intending to harm a patient
👉 Use your social supports and keep doing the fun things
👉 Attend hot and formal debrief events
👉 Attend the morbidity and mortality meeting with a trusted advocate
👉 Stay in touch with your GP


👉 Repeating the story to lots of people
👉 Drugs and alcohol
👉 Publicly blaming people for the event

Everyone deals with a critical incident in their own way. But if you’re still struggling after 4 weeks, you might benefit from the guidance of a professional via your GP. 😃

Build knowledge ✅
Improve safety ✅


Want to keep learning?

Want more content like this? Check out our premium membership for exclusive content. 

Click Here for Access



Join our mailing list for free weekly educational content.


By entering your details you consent to receiving amazing educational materials and updates about our products and events.