Debriefing Guide

Debriefing is defined as “The process of spending a couple of minutes after a procedure, or at the end of a day, to assess what the team did well, what were the challenges, and what they will do differently the next time” (Leonard, Graham, & Bonacum, 2004).

Cant and Cooper (2011) argue, “Formative debriefing and feedback processes enhance experiential learning and are an essential component of simulation training.” Learners must know what went well, what went poorly, and what could have been done differently.

There are three different approaches to the debriefing process—facilitator-led debriefing, peer-led debriefing, and self-debriefing. Facilitators may employ one of several methods for each. Methods include

  • Written self-reflection
  • Post-intervention oral evaluation
  • Self-assessment scales
  • Shared reflections, among team members and the debriefer

Brett-Fleegler, M., Rudolph, J., Eppich, W., Monuteaux, M., Fleegler, E., Cheng, A., & Simon, R. (2012). Debriefing assessment for simulation in healthcare: development and psychometric properties. Simulation in Healthcare: Journal of the Society for Medical Simulation, 7(5), 288-94. doi: 10.1097/SIH.0b013e3182620228.
Center for Medical Simulation. (2009). Debriefing Assessment for Simulation in Healthcare (DASH). Retrieved from DASH.pdf
Leonard, M., Graham, S., & Bonacum, D. (2004). The human factor: the critical importance of effective teamwork and communication in providing safe care. Quality and Safety in Health Care, 13(1) i85-i90. doi: 10.1136/qshc.2004.010033

Further Reading
Salas, E. et al. (2008). Debriefing medical teams: 12 evidence-based best practices and tips. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, 34(9), 518-527.