The art and science of debriefing in simulation: Ideal and practice

Med Teach. 2009 Jul;31(7):e287-94. doi: 10.1080/01421590902866218.


Objectives: Describing what simulation centre leaders see as the ideal debriefing for different simulator courses (medical vs. crisis resource management (CRM)-oriented). Describing the practice of debriefing based on interactions between instructors and training participants.

Methods: Study 1 - Electronic questionnaire on the relevance of different roles of the medical teacher for debriefing (facilitator, role model, information provider, assessor, planner, resource developer) sent to simulation centre leaders. Study 2 - Observation study using a paper-and-pencil tool to code interactions during debriefings in simulation courses for CRM for content (medical vs. CRM-oriented) and type (question vs. utterance).

Results: Study 1 - The different roles were seen as equally important for both course types with the exception of 'information provider' which was seen as more relevant for medical courses. Study 2 - There were different interaction patterns during debriefings: line - involving mostly the instructor and one course participant, triangle - instructor and two participants, fan - instructor and all participants in a dyadic form and net - all participants and the instructor with cross references.

Conclusion: What simulation centre heads think is important for the role mix of simulation instructors is (at least partly) not reflected in debriefing practice.

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Faculty, Medical
  • Humans
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control
  • Patient Simulation*
  • Problem-Based Learning / organization & administration*
  • Professional Role
  • Safety Management / standards
  • Surveys and Questionnaires