Standards of Best Practice: Simulation Standard VI: The Debriefing Process

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debrief, reflection, facilitation, reflective thinking, clinical judgment/reasoning


All simulation-based learning experiences should include a planned debriefing session aimed toward promoting reflective thinking. Learning is dependent on the integration of experience and reflection. Reflection is the conscious consideration of the meaning and implication of an action, which includes the assimilation of knowledge, skills, and attitudes with pre-existing knowledge. Reflection can lead to new interpretations by the learner. Reflective thinking does not happen automatically, but it can be taught; it requires time, active involvement in a realistic experience, and guidance by an effective facilitator. The skills of the debriefer are important to ensure the best possible learning; learning without guidance could lead the learner to negatively transfer a mistake into their practice without realizing it had been poor practice, repeat mistakes, focus only on the negative, or develop fixations. Research provides evidence that the debriefing process is the most important component of a simulation-based learning experience.

Recommended Citation

Decker, Sharon, Mary Fey, Stephanie Sideras, Sandra Caballero, Teri Boese, Ashley E. Franklin, Donna Gloe et al. Standards of best practice: Simulation standard VI: The debriefing process." Clinical Simulation in Nursing 9, no. 6 (2013): S26-S29."

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