November 15, 2022By Lance Baily

The Debriefing Academy Helps Develop Better Clinical Simulation Educators with New Courses

Healthcare simulation educators are the backbone of effective healthcare simulation programs, and their ability to provide instruction to learners is essential. This is why the clinical simulation company, The Debriefing Academy, has focused efforts on how effective debriefing conversations can translate knowledge into practice, transform workplace culture, and transcend traditional methods of education by forging the future generation of leaders within an organization. In doing so, the company has created clinical simulation courses that share essential knowledge that will help educators bring their own debriefings to the next level while instilling key concepts that will help facilitate the ongoing development of learner skills. This article highlights how the Debriefing Academy courses benefit learners, and shares strategies to help build healthcare simulation educator skills.

The Debriefing Academy Master Debriefer Courses

The Debriefing Academy currently offers two courses: the Master Debriefer Course and the Clinical Debriefer Course. The company’s content is based on existing evidence and informed by the company’s collective experiences – thus offering educators the most up-to-date strategies to improve their workplace through debriefing. The courses offer practical advice to support educators’ own improvement while teaching them strategies to train others on their team.

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The Debriefing Academy’s Master Debriefer Course provides the advanced content, strategies, and tools necessary to support the development of simulator educators within a program. This comprehensive course focuses on improving debriefing skills by exploring various important elements of debriefing, including psychological safety, blended-method debriefing, learner-centered debriefing, co-facilitation, emotions in debriefing, peer feedback/coaching, the cultural aspect of debriefing, cognitive load, difficult debriefing situations, and faculty development.

The Clinical Debriefer Course (Virtual Edition) provides the advanced content, strategies, and tools necessary for educators to effectively implement a clinical debriefing program in their local setting. Hosted on The Debriefing Academy Zoom platform, this immersive, 5-week online course focuses on the foundational elements of how to design, implement, and evaluate an effective clinical event debriefing. The course highlights critical elements that drive change within organizations using Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model.

3 Clinical Simulation Educator Strategies

Unfortunately, educators often find a challenge in identifying opportunities that support their professional growth and development. While clinical simulation conferences offer focused opportunities for learning, they are infrequent and not accessible to all educators. Further, fellowships or advanced degrees in simulation provide foundational training in a structured format, but many educators can’t afford to invest the time required to complete such programs.

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As a result, many medical simulation educators find themselves stuck in a relative ‘comfort zone,’ facilitating the same types of clinical simulations, with the same learner groups, and in the same learning environment or context. While this approach may breed confidence through familiarity, the approach is not particularly conducive to building competence as a healthcare simulation facilitator. To help build healthcare simulation educator skills that can be implemented within clinical simulation programs, The Debriefing Academy offers three strategies.

1. Broaden Horizons

For many reasons, simulation educators may find themselves facilitating the same types of simulation sessions for the same learner group(s). Sometimes this happens because educators enjoy engaging with a certain learner group, and other times because this is out of their control, such as when healthcare simulation activities are a core component of an educational curriculum for a specific training program.

When possible, The Debriefing Academy encourages educators to look beyond their comfort zone and identify teaching opportunities with different learner groups (eg. postgraduates vs. undergraduates vs. interprofessional), different learning environments (eg. In situ vs simulation center), and/or different learning objectives. Varying the context of teaching experiences introduces new challenges that permit the application of skills across different situations.

Broadening their horizons in this manner provides the opportunity for educators to construct novel solutions for new challenges, which is central to the development of adaptive expertise. To promote the uptake of this strategy, healthcare simulation program leaders can work with their educators to ensure equal access to the breadth of different sessions within their program, and to identify new teaching opportunities when required.

2. Learn from Peers

Each healthcare simulation session facilitated by an educator should be viewed as a potential opportunity for professional growth. Peer feedback is a faculty development strategy that capitalizes on pre-existing resources (i.e. faculty) within a simulation program to support educators in their quest to develop new skills.

Peer feedback may come in the form of immediate, workplace-based feedback between simulation sessions (e.g. from a co-facilitator), or feedback may occur during scheduled sessions. For example, some programs have implemented group feedback sessions for their faculty, where educators bring short video clips of sessions they’ve facilitated (or debriefed) to receive feedback.

Group feedback sessions promote self and group reflection, shared learning, and critical thinking. Together, these skills can lead to a group of educators supporting each other as they acquire new knowledge and test out new facilitator skills.

3. Coach Peers

Coaching peers can be an intimidating task. Educators may find initiating the peer feedback conversation difficult, or they may struggle to identify performance gaps and associated suggestions for improvement. the Debriefing Academy encourages peers to engage in a ‘setting the stage’ conversation, during which educators outline their expectations of each other and share their learning goals for the day.

Sharing goals makes the job of the peer coach easier, as they observe and identify performance gaps, and to open the feedback conversation. The use of a performance checklist, such as a debriefing assessment tool, provides objective behaviors or tasks that peer coaches can use to structure meaningful performance feedback that is more likely to inform change. Healthcare simulation programs can support the implementation of peer coaching by utilizing a standardized structure and approach to peer coaching conversations which enhances familiarity with the process and reduces educator anxiety and stress.

More About the Debriefing Academy

The Debriefing Academy has a passion for debriefing that has been fostered through many years of teaching, collaboration, research, and scholarly publications. The company’s staff comes from a variety of different backgrounds, but they all share the same enthusiasm for debriefing.

Together, their collective journey has uncovered the power of debriefing – how effective debriefing conversations can translate knowledge into practice, transform workplace culture, and transcend traditional methods of education by forging the future generation of leaders within an organization.

Throughout the Debriefing Academy’s courses, the company shares essential knowledge that will help educators bring their own debriefings to the next level while instilling key concepts that will help facilitate the ongoing development of skills. The courses are designed to be interactive, engaging, thought-provoking, and fun, using innovative technology (such as eye-tracking devices) and varying instructional design features to keep learners activated.

Learn More About the Debriefing Academy

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