Debriefing in simulated-based learning: facilitating a reflective discussion

J Perinat Neonatal Nurs. 2010 Oct-Dec;24(4):302-9; quiz 310-1. doi: 10.1097/JPN.0b013e3181f6b5ec.


The topic of debriefing has received little attention in the simulation literature. In simulation, knowing how to debrief the learner's experiences is as essential as creating scenarios and selecting the correct manikin. The purpose of this article will be to discuss debriefing as it relates to simulation-based learning. Aspects of simulation-based learning, including briefing (preparing learners for simulation) and the simulation (scenario), will be reviewed because they have particular relevance to debriefing. Guidelines and strategies for debriefing will be discussed to facilitate the learner's ability to reflect on their performance. Debriefing will be reviewed following 3 occasions: a critical patient event, an in situ drill, and a simulation at a simulation center. Since debriefing may be different in each of these instances, customizing debriefing to fit the learning environment will be examined. Finally, because of the significance of debriefing on learning, evaluation of the debriefer will be addressed to ensure optimal performance.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Nursing, Continuing / methods*
  • Employee Performance Appraisal / standards*
  • Environment Design
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Manikins
  • Patient Simulation*
  • Problem-Based Learning / methods*
  • Test Taking Skills