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Interested in Retention? - Debrief Your Team!

Interested in Retention? - Debrief Your Team!

Susan A. Leys

There are 5 steps to an informal debriefing which include the following:

1. Gather the team members who were present for the event that took place and briefly (less than 5 minutes) review what happened.

2. Have everyone present discuss their perspective on what happened and what was overwhelming for them. Try to avoid intellectualizing the clinical aspects of what happened and focus more on how you felt (hint: use ‘feeling’ words such as “angry”, “sad”, or “frustrated”).

3. If possible, reinforce something positive that someone else in the room did or said that you felt was effective.

4. Discuss what you learned about yourself as a professional based on what happened. Is there something that you noticed in the way you all interacted as a team that you felt was beneficial?

5. Based on what happened and how you all worked together, did you (as a team) notice any opportunities to provide better patient care? If so, is there someone on your team who can help you achieve your goal (or coach all of you to be mindful that this was something you all had agreed to work on). If not, then what was the positive lesson that you can all take away from the experience so that the event (which was initially overwhelming) can be reframed positively and in a manner that reinforces your strength as a team?

If you do this quickly and “stay on task” effective, informal debriefings can be done in 10 – 15 minutes and are a great way to redirect the energy in your department after a stressful event and a great way to reframe what happened more positively and in a way you can all learn from.

The team at (a subsidiary of Critical Success Strategies, LLC) offers individual and clinical team coaching and debriefing for healthcare professionals needing assistance after stressful, high volume periods or difficult patient cases in any healthcare environment. Contact us at 1.301.512.9928 if you would like to schedule a debriefing for your team or to obtain additional information. You can also visit us on the web at We look forward to hearing from you.

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