In the final day of Sim-one training we talked a lot about debriefing. When debriefing after a simulation the facilitators advocate for use of the PEARLS debriefing tool. A framework like this helps to ensure a familiar process as well as a safe and supportive environment for learning. In addition, the advocacy inquiry approach to debriefing helps the facilitator come from a genuinely curious stance.

geralt / Pixabay

Some key take-aways from the discussion include

  • Check to see if learners are ready for feedback
  • Allow the learner to provide comments before the observer
  • Focus on observable facts instead of making assumptions
  • Use therapeutic skills such as conveying empathy and genuine curiosity

Video use

  • Recording the simulation allows for discussion of blind spots and accuracy of observations. However, it can cause emotions to be re-lived.
  • It can be useful for facilitators to reflect on their facilitation.
  • Improves accuracy of recollection
  • Neutralizes criticism
  • May be problematic
  • Is not typically necessary
  • Should be outlined in the confidentiality agreement

I find the discussion around video use interesting. For me, as a student, I would want access to a video to review after the simulation. I think they help to promote reflection. While I can appreciate the hesitancy and the need to be purposeful in how it is used I think video has a lot of value to add to simulation use.

3dman_eu / Pixabay

Standardized Patient best practice standards have been created by the Association of Standardized Patient Educators. Standardized patients should receive rigorous training. The feedback from this person is from the perspective of the character being played. What stood out for me was the level of preparation that standardized participants (or patients) receive for high-stakes evaluation occurs. They typically provide feedback on interpersonal experiences from their perspective. Consideration is needed for ongoing quality assurance. They need feedback on their performance as well.

Thank you

I would like to thank Karl Weiss and his co-facilitator for sharing their experiences with us. It was a pleasure being part of the SIM-one Essentials and Briefing, Debriefing course held on February 25-27, 2019 at Cambrian College (Click here). I look forward to exploring simulation in more depth in the future.


Laura Killam is an experienced nursing educator from Northern Ontario with a keen interest in improving student learning through innovation. For more information please visit


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