What is debriefing in simulation education?

Medical education high-fidelity simulation allows for deliberate practice in a safe environment. We are able to miss the intubation repeatedly or botch up the management of aspirin overdose without the demise of the patient.  At the end of each session, we gather in a pow wow and debrief…. I have been involved with debriefings, and often wonder what residents are thinking: Do they understand what debriefing means? Do they think this is the time where they are scolded for mistakes? Do they think it is a valuable part of the simulation? What does debriefing even mean?  Debriefing is a broad topic, and definitions vary depending on the field of reference such as medical education versus aviation.  My goal is to provide an overview and only discuss what is debriefing within the simulation medical education context. According to Fanning and Gaba,1 debriefing is “facilitated or guided reflection in the cycle of experiential learning.”  Harvard’s Center for Medical Simulation describes debriefing as a conversation among participants with the ultimate goal to improve performance in real situations. 2  It is a process by which to identify and address gaps in knowledge and skills.3 Debriefing (post-experience analysis) is thought to be one of the most important features of simulation based medical education. Simulation can lead to an experience that is emotional and thought provoking – aka experiential learning. (Think of how you feel when you poorly execute the resuscitation of the manikin in a simulation session.)  Debriefing plays a role in the reflection and analysis of that experiential learning. The following elements are usually involved in debriefing: Facilitator Participants to debrief Experience Impact of the experience Recollection Report Application The Participants go through the simulation case (Experience) and develop … Continue reading What is debriefing in simulation education?