Using debriefing to support and educate children’s nursing students after the death of a child they have cared for in practice

Dexter, Yvonne (2018) Using debriefing to support and educate children’s nursing students after the death of a child they have cared for in practice. In: UWL Teaching and Learning Conference 2018, 27 June 2018, London. (Unpublished)

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There is evidence that health care professionals grieve after the death of a child (Papadatou et al., 2002; Plante and Cyr, 2011; Hollingsworth et al., 2017); however, there is limited data about the impact of a child’s death on children’s nursing students during their brief and varied placements undertaken as part of their course (Carson, 2010). There are many opportunities for universities and placement providers to educate and support these student nurses to prepare them for this experience to develop their resilience and to enable them to become caring, compassionate and courageous practitioners. Debriefing is an intervention that is recommended after a death in practice to enable practitioners to deal with their emotions and to learn from experience to improve practice (Keene et al., 2010; Huggard, 2013; Widdas et al., 2013; Goodrich et al., 2015): it is also suggested that it is an integral part of the nurse education curriculum (National League for Nursing, 2015). This presentation will examine the many meanings of debriefing, its different purposes and outcomes and evidence and debates about its effectiveness (Kinchin, 2007; Sawyer, Loren and Halamek, 2016). The implications for using debriefing to support and educate children’s nursing students about death related situations in practice will be presented e.g. formal approaches, informal approaches (Maloney, 2012; Huggard, 2013) and its fundamental role in simulated learning (Decker et al., 2013).


Carson, S. (2010) Do student nurses within an undergraduate child health programme feel that the curriculum prepares them to deal with the death of a child? Journal of Child Health Care. 14 (4), pp. 367-374.

Decker, S., Fey, M., Sideras, S., Caballero, S., Rockstraw, L, R., Boese, T., Franklin, A, E., Gloe, D., Lioce, L., Sando, C, R., Meakim, C. and Borum, J, C. (2013) Standards of Best Practice: Simulation Standard VI: The Debriefing Process, Clinical Simulation in Learning, 9(65), pp. S26-S29.

Goodrich, J., Harrison, T., Cornwell, J., Cooper, M. and Richardson, H. (2015) Resilience A framework supporting hospice staff to flourish in stressful times. London: Hospice UK.

Hollingsworth, C, E., Wesley, C., Huckridge, J., Finn, G, M. and Griksaitis, M, J. (2017) Impact of Child Death on Paediatric Trainees, Archives of Disease in Childhood [Published Online First: 18 August 2017]. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2017-313544

Huggard, J. (2013) Debriefing: a valuable component of staff support, International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 19(5) pp.212-214.

Keene, E, A., Hutton, N., Hall, B. and Rushton, C. (2010) Bereavement debriefing sessions: an intervention to support health care professionals in managing their grief after the death of a patient, Pediatric Nursing, 36(4), pp.185-189.

Kinchin, D. (2007) A guide to psychological debriefing: managing emotional decompression and post-traumatic stress disorder. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Maloney, C. (2012) Critical incident stress debriefing and pediatric nurses: an approach to support the work environment and mitigate negative consequences, Pediatric Nursing, 38 (2), pp.110 – 113.

National League for Nursing (2015) Debriefing across the curriculum. Available at: (Accessed: 1 March 2018).

Papadatou, D., Bellali, T., Papazoglou, I., and Petraki, D. (2002) Greek nurse and physician grief as a result of caring for children dying of cancer. Pediatric Nursing. 28 (4), pp. 345-353.

Plante, J. and Cyr, C. (2011) Health Care Professionals’ Grief after the Death of a Child, Paediatrics and Child Health, 16(4), pp. 213-216.

Sawyer, T., Loren, D. and Halamek, L, P. (2016) Post-event debriefings during neonatal care: why are we not doing them, how can we start? Journal of Perinatology, 36, pp.415-419.

Widdas, D., McNamara, K. and Edwards, F. (2013) (3rd Ed.) A Core Care Pathway for Children with Life-limiting and Life-threatening Conditions. Bristol: Together for Short Lives.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: Debriefing
Subjects: Medicine and health > Nursing > Child nursing
Medicine and health
Medicine and health > Nursing
Depositing User: Yvonne Dexter
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2018 15:12
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:26

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