Date of Scholarly Project Submission


Degree Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



Faculty Chairperson

Melissa Romero

Second Committee Member

Nancy Maas

Third Committee Member

Anne Stein


In nursing education, simulation represents real patient scenarios that are designed to enable students to practice combining theoretical knowledge with clinical skills within a controlled environment (Bland, Topping, & Wood, 2011). Debriefing is a facilitated reflection of the simulation experience and is performed to uncover relationships among the events, actions, thought processes and outcomes with the intention of improving future practice (Cheng et al., 2014; Kolbe, Grande, & Spahn, 2015). Without proper debriefing, erroneous critical thinking, decision-making, and clinical judgement may go uncorrected, potentially negatively impacting patient care. There is an abundance of literature on debriefing methods; yet, empirical evidence supporting one specific method of debriefing over others is limited. The purpose of this scholarly project was to determine whether implementation of a scripted debriefing tool in comparison to unscripted debriefing would result in better learning outcomes as perceived by a sample of undergraduate nursing students at a Midwestern university. The evidence-based debriefing tool that was used was developed by Gum, Greenhill, and Dix (2011) and is titled Debriefing Guide for Facilitators. This scholarly project utilized a quasi-experimental research design and used a Likert-based survey that was designed to measure students’ perceptions of their ability to meet the learning objectives of the simulation. A Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare median Likert survey scores between the unscripted and scripted debriefing groups following a post-partum hemorrhage simulation. Results from the statistical analysis did not yield statistically significant results (p = .423). Despite a lack of statistical significance, many benefits of utilizing a scripted debriefing tool were identified. This scholarly project adds to the current debriefing literature and may be considered as a means to optimize simulation for improved student learning outcomes which may lead to increased patient safety and quality of care.

Included in

Nursing Commons