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Simul Healthc. 2016 Jun;11(3):209-17. doi: 10.1097/SIH.0000000000000148.

More Than One Way to Debrief: A Critical Review of Healthcare Simulation Debriefing Methods.

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From the Department of Pediatrics (T.S.), Division of Neonatology, University of Washington School of Medicine Seattle, WA; Department of Pediatrics (W.E.), Division of Emergency Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago IL; Department of Medicine (M.B.-F.), Division of Emergency Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA; and KidSIM Simulation Program (V.G., A.C.), and Department of Paediatrics, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Debriefing is a critical component in the process of learning through healthcare simulation. This critical review examines the timing, facilitation, conversational structures, and process elements used in healthcare simulation debriefing. Debriefing occurs either after (postevent) or during (within-event) the simulation. The debriefing conversation can be guided by either a facilitator (facilitator-guided) or the simulation participants themselves (self-guided). Postevent facilitator-guided debriefing may incorporate several conversational structures. These conversational structures break the debriefing discussion into a series of 3 or more phases to help organize the debriefing and ensure the conversation proceeds in an orderly manner. Debriefing process elements are an array of techniques to optimize reflective experience and maximize the impact of debriefing. These are divided here into the following 3 categories: essential elements, conversational techniques/educational strategies, and debriefing adjuncts. This review provides both novice and advanced simulation educators with an overview of various methods of conducting healthcare simulation debriefing. Future research will investigate which debriefing methods are best for which contexts and for whom, and also explore how lessons from simulation debriefing translate to debriefing in clinical practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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