Susan Donnell Scott
Susan Donnell Scott, BSN ’88, MS(N) ’94
Although nurses are trained to care for patients, sometimes after a troubling case it’s the nurses and other health care workers who are in need of care. Susan Donnell Scott works to improve care and interventions for health care workers who are second victims – those who have been impacted by an unexpected clinical event that adversely affects them professionally and personally. In her role as patient safety manager in the Office of Clinical Effectiveness for University of Missouri Health Care (UMHC), Scott, BSN ’88, MS(N) ’94, RN, conducts research and implements programs to assist second victims. She founded and leads the UMHC forYOU Team, a peer support network that trains staff and provides interventions and support for health care clinicians suffering as second victims.
This line of work is personal for Scott. In the short time between earning an associate’s degree and taking state board exams, Scott had a second-victim experience involving the death of a young child. The only advice she received was from a mentor who said, “Welcome to nursing, honey. You’ve got to pull it up by the bootstraps and just keep going.” With her husband’s support and encouragement, Scott took the board exam and started her nursing career. “It really didn’t hit me that I was a second victim until I started studying the phenomenon,” she said. “Each of the nursing roles that I’ve held during my career has prepared me for this unique role of supporting second victims,” she said. “The education I’ve received from the Sinclair School of Nursing has increased that depth of knowledge and provided me with insights to be able to help others.”
Scott, who has worked with UMHC for 29 years, has presented her work on second victims across the United States and Europe, co-written multiple publications and has been featured in several video documentaries. She was previously the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse manager, served as quality care coordinator at the MU School of Medicine and branch manager/legal nurse consultant. Scott is a member of the American Society of Professionals in Patient Safety, the American Nurses Association, the Missouri Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau Alpha Iota Chapter, Midwest Nursing Research Society, Stress and Coping Network and has served as the student representative on the Sinclair School of Nursing PhD Program Committee. Scott and husband, Gary, operations manager of outpatient clinics at Harry S. Truman VA Hospital, have two daughters, Katherine and Erin.