Structured debriefing in nursing simulation: students’ perceptions

Verónica Rita Dias Coutinho, José Carlos Amado Martins, Fátima Pereira


Background and Objective: Debriefing is the strategy which allows a review of a simulated experience or activities in which the participants explore, analyse and summarise their own action and thinking processes, their emotional state and other information which can enhance their performance in real-life situations. The aim of this study was to analyse the students’ perception of the structured debriefing.

Methods: Qualitative research developed with 22 students in their fourth year of the nursing degree course. A voluntary, anonymous and confidential questionnaire was applied. The content analysis was based on Bardin.

Results: Five categories resulted from the content analysis: the concept; the attributes; the cognitive impact; the psychosocial and the affective impact. They were all grouped into two dimensions: ‘The perception of Structured Debriefing’ and ‘The impact of Structured Debriefing on Students’. Several suggestions emerged such as the continuity of its use and its application to other contexts.

Conclusions: The students perceive structured debriefing as an interactive method which allows the consolidation and systematisation of knowledge, the individual and collective reflection and the structured thought. On the other hand, the students mention that structured debriefing enables them to ask questions more ‘openly’ and to have greater proximity among colleagues, making the communication between all participants easier, inter alia, allowing us to mention the positive impact that it has on building skills.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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