Debriefing after resuscitations in a pediatric emergency department

Paul Mullan, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Multiple guidelines recommend debriefing of actual resuscitations to improve clinical performance. We implemented a novel standardized debriefing program using a Debriefing In Situ Conversation after Emergent Resuscitations Now (DISCERN) tool. Following the development of the evidence-based DISCERN tool, we conducted an observational study of all resuscitations (intubation, CPR, and/or defibrillation) at a pediatric emergency department (ED) over one year. Resuscitation interventions, patient survival, and physician team leader characteristics were analyzed as predictors for debriefing. Each debriefing's participants, time duration, and content were recorded. Thematic content of debriefings was categorized by framework approach into Team Emergency Assessment Measure (TEAM) elements. There were 241 resuscitations and 63 (26%) debriefings. A higher proportion of debriefings occurred after CPR (p<0.001) or ED death (p<0.001). Debriefing participants always included an attending and nurse; the median number of staff roles present was six. Median interval (from resuscitation end to start of debriefing) & debriefing durations were 33 (IQR 15,67) and 10 minutes (IQR 5,12), respectively. Common TEAM themes included co-operation/coordination (30%), communication (22%), and situational awareness (15%). Stated reasons for not debriefing included: unnecessary (78%), time constraints (19%), or other reasons (3%). Debriefings with the DISCERN tool usually involved higher acuity resuscitations, involved most of the indicated personnel, and lasted less than 10 minutes. This qualitative tool could be adapted to other settings. Future studies are needed to evaluate for potential impacts on education, quality improvement programming, and staff emotional well-being.

Subject Area

Communication|Medicine|Health care management

Recommended Citation

Mullan, Paul, "Debriefing after resuscitations in a pediatric emergency department" (2012). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1532532.