Education | 05-May-2017

Think You Know Debriefing? Challenges

How effective are your simulation debriefing skills? What challenges do you face? Are you meeting your training goals? What can AV do to enhance your debriefing process?

In our four-part blog series on debriefing, we'll help you get the most out of your debriefing time for better learner outcomes and improved patient care.


Debriefing isn't just a simple part of simulation-based education— it's, as Drs. Stormy Morales Monks and Scott Barnett Crawford (Texas Tech University El Paso) agree, a core element.

But that doesn't mean the debriefing process can't pose challenges to facilitators.

Let's look at three:

Short on time following the scenario? Keep things on track by establishing a debriefing structure, including goals, actions, and time estimates. Plus, a set structure will help acclimate both repeat and novice learners to the debriefing environment.

Dealing with difficult learners? In a recent, informal poll, 55% of our participants said that their biggest debriefing challenge is that they don't know how to deal with difficult learners. Perhaps they mock or refuse to engage with the simulation event. To combat this, establish buy-in early on. When learners are committed to treating the simulation scenario like a real medical event, they're better able to emotionally engage in the experience and express themselves during debriefing.

This ties in to the need for developing a sense of interpersonal support. Learners may feel vulnerable, exposed, or even scrutinized during the debrief, especially when they've made mistakes that will be on view during video playback. It's essential to set the stage for learners to feel psychologically safe within the debriefing environment.

Never received formal debriefing training? Each session gives you an opportunity to continue building your skills as a facilitator. Maintain accurate records, work in open-ended questions, direct the conversation to draw in all learners and meet everyone's needs, and be an active listener!


Learn more about debriefing in "Simulation Debriefing: Why Do We Talk About It?" -- a free webinar presented by the Global Institute for Simulation Training and EMS.

EMS has been the leading innovator of simulation training technology for more
than 20 years.