Creation and evaluation of a novel, interdisciplinary debriefing program using a design-based research approach

Christie A Lech*, Erika Betancourt, Jo Shapiro, Diana H J M Dolmans, Martin Pusic

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: The emergency department (ED) witnesses the close functioning of an interdisciplinary team in an unpredictable environment. High-stress situations can impact well-being and clinical practice both individually and as a team. Debriefing provides an opportunity for learning, validation, and conversation among individuals who may not typically discuss clinical experiences together. The current study examined how a debriefing program could be designed and implemented in the ED so as to help teams and individuals learn from unique, stressful incidents.

Methods: Based on the theory of workplace-based learning and a design-based research approach, the evolved nature of a debriefing program implemented in the real-life context of the ED was examined. Focus groups were used to collect data. We report the design of the debriefing intervention as well as the program outcomes in terms of provider's self-perceived roles in the program and program impact on provider's self-reported clinical practice as well as the redesign of the program based on said feedback.

Results: The themes of barriers to debriefing, provision of perspectives, psychological trauma, and nurturing of staff emerged from focus group sessions. Respondents identified barriers and concerns regarding debriefing, and based on this information, changes were made to the program, including offering of refresher sessions for debriefing, inclusion of additional staff members in the training, and remessaging the purpose of the program.

Conclusions: Data from the study reinforced the need to increase the frequency and availability of debriefing didactics along with clarifying staff roles in the program. Future work will examine continued impact on provider practice and influence on departmental culture.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10719
Number of pages8
JournalAEM Education and Training: a global journey of emergency care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022




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