Think You Know Debriefing? Tips and Tricks

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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.

Tips and Tricks

Ready, set, debrief! As you develop your debriefing style, think about implementing these tips:

  • Write a debrief technique into the scenario script. In a recent, informal poll, 38% of our participants said that they do this all of the time—but 20% never thought about doing this.
  • Conduct a pre-brief, or introduction, before the simulation. Prepare the learner with an introduction to the scenario’s goals and objectives, the timing, as well as to the education environment. And explain the logistics and roles of everyone involved, including faculty, support staff, learners, and SPs. Even if the learners have been through the simulation process before, the pre-brief allows them to ask questions and meet any new facilitators.
  • Hold the debrief in a location from where the scenario was held. This allows learners to have a physical and mental separation from the event, and develop a dialogue about what occurred.
  • Focus on the performance, not the performer.
  • And as a rule of thumb, spend twice as much time debriefing as you did in the actual simulation.


Consider changing your debriefing style to best meet the learner’s need or the scenario objective.

  • Encourage everyone involved in the simulation to participate with shared storytelling.
  • Facilitate discussion with the G.A.S. Method: gather (listen), analyze (guide reflection), summarize (help learners develop conclusions).
  • Or simply ask, “What worked well?” and “What would you change?”


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. 

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