The UW Medicine Peer to Peer Program is here to support all members of our healthcare team.  UW Medicine recognizes that there is a growing sense of burnout and emotional fatigue among healthcare workers.  This can be due to specific events or to cumulative stressors.  Through the Peer to Peer Program, UW Medicine aims to better support faculty, staff, and trainees when work/life can feel overwhelming.

Click here to request help from a peer supporter for yourself or a colleague.

About the Peer to Peer Program

The Peer to Peer Program is here to support our healthcare teams. There are many reasons someone might want to talk to a peer supporter. It could be a difficult death, or an adverse event.  Perhaps you are finding less joy in your job or have a sense of emotional fatigue.  The Peer to Peer Program is here to help!  Peer supporters are clinicians who have been trained to be thoughtful, compassionate listeners.

This flyer and this brochure provide information and answers to frequently asked questions about the Peer to Peer Program for staff, faculty, and trainees.

Peer Supporter Nominations

If you want to nominate a colleague to be a Peer Supporter, please complete the nomination form.

An ideal Peer Supporter demonstrates good listening skills, resiliency and emotional intelligence; maintains professional boundaries; is trustworthy and maintains confidentiality. If this describes your colleague, then please tell us more about them in the nomination form. Your nomination will be reviewed by your local Peer Supporter Selection Committee.

About the Peer Supporter Role

Peer Supporters are volunteers who are trained to provide one-on-one confidential, emotional support as well as referrals to other support organizations as needed. A Peer Supporter will be dispatched within 24 hours of a request for support services being received. The Peer Supporter may email or call the individual in need of support to arrange a date and time to speak on the phone or meet in person. This is usually a one-time meeting with occasional, optional follow-up.

During this Peer to Peer meeting, the Peer Supporter mostly listens to their peer’s concerns and offers support without feeling the need to give advice. The team member being contacted with an offer of peer support can decide to participate or not – it is not a requirement and completely up to them. All contacted care team members are offered a basic information and resource brochure.

There may be times when a Peer Supporter thinks the care team member needs more support and our program will have these resources available to you to recommend (e.g. grief counseling, behavioral health, employee assistance program, etc.).

This document outlines the role of the peer supporter, including who can be a peer supporter and what is expected.

Peer Supporters who need information on training resources may access them here. Please note this resource is only for trained Peer Supporters.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Peer to Peer Program?

The program is designed to provide a supportive listener after a stressful event or when the job feels overwhelming.  Any care team member can access one on one support from a colleague in their field – a trained peer supporter.

Who are the Peer Supporters? What do they offer?

Peer Supporters are your colleagues who were nominated and selected for this role because they are trusted by others and good listeners.  They are trained to understand the need to maintain confidentiality and appropriate boundaries while providing one-on-one confidential, emotional support as well as referrals to other support services within UW Medicine or the community as needed.

How does someone become a Peer Supporter?

If you’d like to nominate one of your colleagues as a Peer Supporter, please complete a nomination form.  We welcome nominations for Peer Supporters representing a variety of disciplines and services within the UW Medicine system.  To learn more about the role of the Peer Supporter, please see the role description document under the resources section.

When would I access a Peer Supporter?

The Peer to Peer Program is here to support any member of our healthcare teams.  You could need support after a patient passes away, when you are involved in an adverse event, or after a difficult interaction with a colleague.  It might be that it feels hard to come to work and you are experiencing burnout or are finding less joy in your work.  The Peer to Peer Program is here to help!

How do I access a Peer Supporter?

The easiest way to access the Peer to Peer Program is to submit a request form here.  You can use this form to request peer support for yourself or to refer someone in need.  In addition, after a known difficult clinical event, as a matter of routine, involved care team members may be contacted and offered peer support.

How will I be contacted?

A Staff Support Specialist* will contact you (or the person you referred) to match to a Peer Supporter or refer to the appropriate staff support service. The peer support match is based on UW Medicine entity, area of practice or department, clinical background, and availability. A designated peer supporter, who will only be given contact information, will contact the person in need of support to discuss how and when they would like to meet.

*Process may vary by entity/site

What happens next?

You can decide to speak on the phone or meet in person with the Peer Supporter.  This is usually a one-time event but can include an occasional follow-up or referral to additional support. You will also be offered a basic information and resource brochure. 

What should I expect from the one to one session?

In this session, you will meet with a colleague who understands the unique challenges of a career in healthcare. Their job is to listen and offer support, as opposed to review the details of an event or provide counseling.  The Peer Supporter is someone to be there as you navigate a difficult time or situation.   

Is this confidential?

Yes, the Peer Supporters maintain confidentiality (unless there are safety concerns for you, another individual, or a patient).  When you meet with a Peer Supporter, the only people who will know that a conversation took place are you, the Peer Supporter, and the Staff Support Specialist.

Have you already experienced a peer support interaction?

If you have received peer support, please complete this anonymous survey with your feedback from the experience. Your feedback will help us improve the program.

For questions, please contact the Peer to Peer site coordinator at your site:

Harborview Medical Center Staff:  HMC Peer Support Coordinating Group | (206) 744-9561 | HMCPeer2Peer@uw.edu
UWMC Montlake and Northwest Staff:  Marie Cockerham | (206) 598-5077 | marie678@uw.edu
Harborview Medical Center Faculty & Trainees:  Sam Sharar | sharar@uw.edu
General Faculty & Trainees:  Trish Kritek | pkritek@uw.edu or Anne Browning | anneb7@uw.edu
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Faculty & Trainees:  Laura Sandberg | (206) 606-1372 | lmsandbe@seattlecca.org or Sheree Bennett | swilliams@seattlecca.org
UWMC Montlake Faculty & Trainees:  Trish Kritek | pkritek@uw.edu
UWMC Northwest Faculty & Trainees:  Laura Quinnan | lquinnan@uw.edu
UW Neighborhood Clinic Faculty & Trainees:  Pam Yung | pamyung@uw.edu
Seattle Children’s Hospital Faculty & Trainees:  Richard Shugerman | richard.shugerman@seattlechildrens.org or Kristina Toncray | kristina.toncray@seattlechildrens.org
Veteran’s Affairs Faculty & Trainees:  Trish Kritek | pkritek@uw.edu
Airlift NW:  Krista Christian | krista.christian@airliftnw.org

If you have additional questions, please email us at uwmedpeertopeer@uw.edu