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Hosp Pediatr. 2012 Oct;2(4):221-7.

Effect of focused debriefing on team communication skills.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Medstar Franklin Square Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland 21237, USA.



Community hospitals often lack tertiary care support such as pediatric intensivists and anesthesiologists. Resuscitation of critically ill and injured children in community hospitals requires a well-coordinated team effort, because good team performance improves quality of care. The lack of subspecialty support makes team coordination and communication more imperative yet much more challenging. This study sought to determine if the addition of a defined focused post-mock code debriefing session improved communication skills among team members in a community pediatric emergency department.


Twenty-two volunteer members of the pediatric emergency and respiratory therapy departments at Medstar Franklin Square Medical Center took part in monthly simulated resuscitations for 3 consecutive months. After each simulation, participants answered an 18-item survey on observed communication among their team members. Members then participated in a 30-minute debriefing session in which they reflected on their own communication skills. A video taping of the resuscitation was later scored by one of the investigators by using a rubric designed by the investigators. Descriptive statistics were calculated for both the participant survey and the team communication indicator scores. Paired-sample Wilcoxon signed rank test examined the difference in the scores between each of 3 sessions.


The mean scores by investigator-scored video recordings of the teams' mock resuscitation by session showed overall team communication improved between sessions 1 and 3 for all communication areas (P = .03), with significant improvement in 4 of 9 communication areas by the third session. All team members improved communication skills as well, with the greatest improvement by the clinical multifunctional technicians.


Communication skills improve with the addition of focused debriefing sessions after mock codes as perceived by participants during debriefing sessions and evidenced by investigator-scored video recordings of resuscitations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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