Enhancing the effectiveness of team debriefings in medical simulation: More best practices

Rebecca Lyons, Elizabeth H. Lazzara, Lauren E. Benishek, Stephanie Zajac, Megan Gregory, Shirley C. Sonesh, Eduardo Salas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Teamwork is a vital component of optimal patient care. In both clinical settings and medical education, a variety of approaches are used for the development of teamwork skills. Yet, for team members to receive the full educational benefit of these experiential learning opportunities, postsimulation feedback regarding the team's performance must be incorporated. Debriefings are among the most widely used form of feedback regarding team performance. A team debriefing is a facilitated or guided dialogue that takes place between team members following an action period to review and reflect on team performance. Team members discuss their perceptions of what occurred, why it occurred, and how they can enhance their performance. Simulation debriefing allows for greater control and planning than are logistically feasible for on-the-job performance. It is also unique in that facilitators of simulation-based training are generally individuals external to the team, whereas debriefing on the job is commonly led by an internal team member or conducted without a specified facilitator. Consequently, there is greater opportunity for selecting and training facilitators for team simulation events. Thirteen Best Practices: The 13 best practices, extracted from existing training and debriefing research, are organized under three general categories: (1) preparing for debriefing, (2) facilitator responsibilities during debriefing, and (3) considerations for debriefing content. For each best practice, considerations and practical implications are provided to facilitate the implementation of the recommended practices. Conclusion: The 13 best practices presented in this article should help health care organizations by guiding team simulation administrators, self-directed medical teams, and debriefing facilitators in the optimization of debriefing to support learning for all team members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-125
Number of pages11
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management


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