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Frameworks and quality measures used for debriefing in team-based simulation: a systematic review
  1. Ruth Endacott1,2,
  2. Thomas Gale3,4,
  3. Anita O’Connor1,
  4. Samantha Dix2
  1. 1 School of Nursing and Midwifery, Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK
  2. 2 School of Nursing and Midwifery, Monash University, Frankston, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3 Collaboration for the Advancement of Medical Education Research and Assessment, Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Plymouth, UK
  4. 4 Department of Anaesthesia, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, Plymouth, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ruth Endacott, Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Plymouth University, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK; ruth.endacott{at}


Objectives The skill of the debriefer is known to be the strongest independent predictor of the quality of simulation encounters yet educators feel underprepared for this role. The aim of this review was to identify frameworks used for debriefing team-based simulations and measures used to assess debriefing quality.

Methods We systematically searched PubMed, CINAHL, MedLine and Embase databases for simulation studies that evaluated a debriefing framework. Two reviewers evaluated study quality and retrieved information regarding study methods, debriefing framework, outcome measures and debriefing quality.

Results A total of 676 papers published between January 2003 and December 2017 were identified using the search protocol. Following screening of abstracts, 37 full-text articles were assessed for eligibility, 26 studies met inclusion criteria for quality appraisal and 18 achieved a sufficiently high-quality score for inclusion in the evidence synthesis. A debriefing framework was used in all studies, mostly tailored to the study. Impact of the debrief was measured using satisfaction surveys (n=11) and/or participant performance (n=18). Three themes emerged from the data synthesis: selection and training of facilitators, debrief model and debrief assessment. There was little commonality across studies in terms of participants, experience of faculty and measures used.

Conclusions A range of debriefing frameworks were used in these studies. Some key aspects of debrief for team-based simulation, such as facilitator training, the inclusion of a reaction phase and the impact of learner characteristics on debrief outcomes, have no or limited evidence and provide opportunities for future research particularly with interprofessional groups.

  • simulation
  • debriefing
  • validity
  • frameworks
  • interprofessional
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  • Contributors All authors fulfil the criteria for authorship; no one who fulfills the criteria for authorship has been excluded. Contributions were as follows: study planning (TG, RE and AO), study conduct (all authors) and development of the manuscript (all authors).

  • Funding This work was supported by the UK Higher Education Authority Teaching Development Grant number GEN-620.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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