Engagement Across Professions: A Mixed Methods Study of Debriefing After Interprofessional Team Training

Document Type


Publication Date



Medical Education, Simulation

Journal Title

Simulation in healthcare : journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare


INTRODUCTION: Simulation is an ideal tool for interprofessional (IP) team training. Debriefing after simulation is key to IP learning, although engagement and participation may be adversely influenced by cultural and hierarchical barriers. This mixed-methods study explored factors influencing learner engagement and participation in IP debriefing and the experience of "silent but apparently engaged" participants. METHODS: Semistructured profession-specific focus groups were conducted with participants from a weekly IP pediatric simulation program. Focus groups were recorded, transcribed, and thematically analyzed. Eligible participants were assigned to "silent" or "verbal" groups according to observed behavior and received a questionnaire. Participants' self-rated engagement scores were compared using a t test. RESULTS: Thirty-six of 81 eligible participants were included, 13 completed a questionnaire, and 23 (8 physicians, 10 nursing staff, 4 pharmacists, 1 respiratory therapist) participated in 13 focus groups. Twenty-two subthemes were grouped into 6 themes: psychological safety, realism, distractors, stress, group characteristics, and facilitator behavior, with differences in perspective according to profession. Of the 36 respondents, 18 were "silent" and 18 "verbal." Self-rated engagement scores differed between groups (3.65 vs. 4.17, P = 0.06); however, "silent" participants described themselves as engaged. CONCLUSIONS: Themes identified that influenced learner engagement in debriefing included aspects of prebriefing and the simulation. Some aligned with general simulation best practices, such as psychological safety, prebriefing, and facilitator behavior. Findings unique to IP simulation included importance of realism to nonphysician professions, protecting time for training, group composition, and direct probing by cofacilitators to decrease physician bias and emphasize IP contributions. Silent participants reported engagement.