Debriefing In Laboratory Experiences in Undergraduate Nursing Education: Consolidating Learning and Creating Meaning

Monday, 9 November 2015

Gerri C. Lasiuk, PhD, CPMHN(C), RN, RPN1
Penny L. MacDonald, MN, BScN, RN1
Jill E. Vihos, BScN, MN, RN1
Denaine Lozza, BScN, RN1
Dorothy J. Spies, BScN, RN2
Loreen Carol Pollard, MN, BScN, RN3
Beth Malishewski, BScN, RN1
Moira Bazin, MN, RN1
Nadine M. Moniz, MN, BScN, RN1
(1)Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
(2)University of Alberta Faculty of Nursing, Edmonton, AB, Canada
(3)University of Alberta Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta Faculty of Nursing, Edmonton, AB, Canada


Debriefing is a pedagogical strategy used in nursing education to allow students to create personal meaning of learning experiences, which is fundamental to understanding who one is as an individual in both learning and practice.  For nursing students, recognizing one’s spirit and what it personally means to be a nurse is foundational to their moral growth. When nurses acknowledge their personal identity, they are able to set themselves aside to understand the lived experience of the patients that they care for.  Encouraging learners to talk about their practice can contribute to their personal transformation, professional growth and lead to accumulation of nursing knowledge. When nursing students can articulate who they are as professionals, they can meet their spiritual needs, as well as meet the spiritual health needs of their patients. Debriefing also socializes nursing students into practice through recognizing the importance of establishing safe spaces to engage in collaboration, caring communication, role clarification and reflection about learning experiences within a peer group. Debriefing strategies with nursing students can include; group reflection at the end of classes, tutors providing immediate feedback to students after performing learning activities, and dialogue after interactions with patients and their families. In nursing education, learning outcomes from debriefing can be reflected in cognitive, affective and social growth over the duration of their nursing program. Debriefing about learning experiences helps learners to engage with the lived experience of others, and facilitates appreciating the humanity of others which is necessary for providing safe, competent care in nursing practice. The practice of debriefing is an essential component of the nursing students’ learning process towards their spiritual and professional transformation into becoming a nurse. The results of a pilot project, "Debriefing in Laboratory Experiences", that was conducted at the Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta are presented.