Debriefing in the emergency department after clinical events: a practical guide

Ann Emerg Med. 2015 Jun;65(6):690-8. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2014.10.019. Epub 2014 Nov 15.


One vital aspect of emergency medicine management is communication after episodes of care to improve future performance through group reflection on the shared experience. This reflective activity in teams is known as debriefing, and despite supportive evidence highlighting its benefits, many practitioners experience barriers to implementing debriefing in the clinical setting. The aim of this article is to review the current evidence supporting postevent debriefing and discuss practical approaches to implementing debriefing in the emergency department. We will address the who, what, when, where, why, and how of debriefing and provide a practical guide for the clinician to facilitate debriefing in the clinical environment.

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Group Processes
  • Humans
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control
  • Patient Care Team
  • Quality Improvement