Brenda Wiles, MEd, MSN, RN.  Xavier University.

Debriefing occurs after the simulation experience and is a time for reflection and an opportunity to build on prior learning (Dreifuerst, 2012).  Students learn best in a structured debriefing environment (Dreifuerst, 2010).  The table below provides resources on some of the most current best practices for simulation debriefing.


Author Topic Findings/Observations
Dreifuerst, 2010 Explanation of debriefing N/A
Dreifuerst, 2012 Debriefing for Meaningful Learning (DML) model DML had a positive effect on clinical reasoning; tool provided in article
Kuiper, Heinrich, Matthias, Graham, & Bell-Kotwall, 2008 Outcome Present State Test (OPT) model debriefing tool Promising, but further testing is needed; tool provided in article
Lusk & Fater, 2012 Advocating the use of Tanner’s Clinical Judgment Model for debriefing N/A
Mariani, Cantrell, Meakim, Prieto,& Dreifuerst, 2013 The DML and clinical judgment Mean clinical judgment scores were higher for the treatment group, but not statistically significant.
Nielsen, Stragnell, & Jester, 2007 Questions to guide reflection; based on Tanner’s Clinical Judgment N/A; tool provided in article
Wickers, 2010 How to engage students in meaningful debriefing N/A




Dreifuerst, K., T. (2010). The essentials of debriefing in simulation learning:  A concept analysis.

     Nursing Education Perspectives, 30, 2, 109-114.  Retrieved from

Dreifuerst, K., T. (2012). Using debriefing for meaningful learning to foster development of clinical reasoning in simulation.

Journal of Nursing Education, 51, 6, 323-333. doi:10.3928/01484834-20120409-02

Kuiper, R., A., Heinrich, C., Matthias, A., Graham, M., J., & Bell-Kotwall, L. (2008). Debriefing with the OPT model of clinical reasoning during high fidelity patient simulation.

     International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, 5, 1, Article 17, 2-14. Retrieved from

Lusk, J., & Fater, K. (2012). Postsimulation debriefing to maximize clinical judgment development.

Nurse Educator, 38, 1, 16-19. doi: 10.1097/NNE.0b013e318276df8b

Mariani, B., Cantrell, M. A., Meakim, C., Prieto, P., & Dreifuerst, K. T. (2013). Structured Debriefing and students’ clinical judgment abilities in simulation.

Clinical Simulation in  Nursing, 9(5), e147-e155. doi:10.1016/j.ecns.2011.11.009.

Nielsen, A., Stragnell, S., & Jester, P. (2007). Guide for reflection using the clinical judgment model.

Journal of Nursing Education, 46, 11, 513-516. Retrieved from

Wickers, P. (2010). Establishing the climate for a successful debriefing.

Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 6, e83-e86. doi: 10.1016/j.ecns.2009.06.003