Compassionate Peers and Stress Support
Michigan Medicine offers a Peer Support Network for faculty, staff, and house officers who have experienced difficult events. Peer supporters can talk with you about experiences with patient care, including unexpected outcomes, medical errors, or malpractice allegations. Peer support can be helpful to discuss stress, burnout, pandemic challenges, or work-life related concerns.
The network is specifically designed to offer emotional support by connecting you with a trusted colleague who has been through a similar experience. The peer supporter will offer opportunities to meet for conversation, support, and referrals to additional resources, as needed. The program is confidential. Any member of a team can request peer support. This program is available for all teams and areas within Michigan Medicine-- whether clinical or non-clinical.
If you or someone you know needs additional support, please request support by sending an email to PeerSupport@med.umich.edu to get connected to a supporter.
(Note: this link will take you to an internal U-M SharePoint site)
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can use COMPASS?
Any member of a team who is distressed or impacted by involvement in a stressful experience. While peer support has a foundation of providing emotional first aid in cases of an unexpected patient event or medical error, we acknowledge the enormity and complexity of emotions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the unprecedented navigation to a new, uncertain “normal.” Concerns related to work-life balance and general stressors can also be discussed with peer supporters. Peer support is available for both clinical and non-clinical teams across Michigan Medicine.
Stressful events can result in a range of experiences, including changes in mood, thinking, physical health, or coping behaviors. These responses are natural, and it can be beneficial to receive additional support to help you reconnect to sources of strength and coping during challenging times. Peer support can provide assistance for a range of workplace stressors, as well as personal stressors that may impact one’s work.
Peer support is not counseling or professional support—it is designed to offer colleague-to-colleague social support and information.
Who are the peer supporters and what do they offer?
Peer supporters represent a wide range of disciplines, departments, and work roles. They have an interest in well-being and creating a culture of support and well-being. The supporters are trained to provide one-on-one confidential, emotional support to their colleagues. The peer support interaction provides a safe and confidential space to express reactions to a stressful event. Peer supporters can also provide information, referrals, and resources, as needed. Peer supporters are not mental health counselors and do not provide clinical assessment or services.
Is this program confidential?
Yes. Peer support encounters are private and confidential. As a condition of the role, peer supporters agree to maintain the strict confidentiality of their peers. An exception to confidentiality is if someone is at imminent risk of harm to themselves or others; in this instance, confidentiality may be broken by alerting emergency services or mental health professionals in order to keep someone safe.
I'd like to train Peer Supporters for my department or team—how do I do that?
We welcome the opportunity to introduce peer support to your team! The peer support model works well when a group of trusted peers from a department, unit, or team are trained to offer support to their area colleagues. The first step is to contact the Peer Support Coordination Team. Email PeerSupport@med.umich.edu
What is the Person of Confidence Program for nurses?
The Person of Confidence Program is specifically for nurses who have experienced sexual harassment or misconduct. The creation of this program is outlined in the nursing contract (Article 44). The program connects nurses with peer supporters who have specialized training in providing emotional support and information related to sexual harassment or misconduct. To request peer support from the Person of Confidence program, contact: email@example.com. The Person of Confidence program is aligned with the overall COMPASS Peer Support Network.
Is peer support available for those going through malpractice litigation?
Yes. Receiving a Notice of Intent or preparing for trial can be a stressful experience. It can be beneficial to receive additional support from peer colleagues who have been through similar experiences. As part of the COMPASS Peer Support Network, there are peer supporters available to provide emotional support and information for clinicians who are going through the litigation process for an allegation of malpractice. Peer supporters do not provide legal advice or guidance. Peer support is available at any time during the legal process. To request peer support related to the litigation, contact: PeerSupport@med.umich.edu.
When and how should a colleague contact COMPASS?
Please reach out any time a team member would like additional support from a peer. There are a number of ways to access the program:
Contact one of the supporters directly. See the roster of current supporters on this internal SharePoint site.
Supporters can also proactively reach out to a colleague in their area and offer the opportunity to meet for conversation.
Anyone can refer a colleague to the program through our email address, PeerSupport@med.umich.edu. The program coordinators will facilitate a connection with a supporter.
How is COMPASS related to ongoing efforts dedicated to overall well-being?
The program is designed to support healthcare professionals after a stressful experience. Faculty, staff, and house officers may prefer one-on-one support from a colleague in their field—someone who has been trained to offer emotional first aid and who understands their experience. Peer support complements existing resources by providing additional opportunities for social support, belonging, and enhancing awareness of available emotional health resources. The COMPASS program is coordinated with other well-being initiatives at Michigan Medicine.
For more information on counseling, stress and crisis support, mental health information and resources please contact the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience. Phone: 734-763-5409, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Michigan Medicine Wellness Office provides information, resources, and updates regarding mental and emotional well-being.