Importance of debriefing following critical incidents
Intended for healthcare professionals
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Importance of debriefing following critical incidents

Sonya Healy Senior staff nurse, Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland
Mark Tyrrell Director of undergraduate education, Catherine McAuley school of nursing and midwifery, University College Cork, Ireland

Sonya Healy and Mark Tyrrell discuss the strategies doctors and nurses think they need to cope with stressful events in emergency departments

Working in emergency departments (EDs) is inherently stressful, and stress caused by events such as witnessed death, elder or child abuse, and aggression and violence can have profound effects on staff. One strategy that can be effective in helping staff deal with such events is critical incident stress debriefing but, as the literature suggests, this is poorly established in ED settings. This article reports the results of a study in three EDs in Ireland of nurses’ and doctors’ perceived needs for debriefing and makes recommendations to improve this area of practice.

Emergency Nurse. 20, 10, 32-37. doi: 10.7748/en2013.


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 28 August 2012

Accepted: 28 November 2012

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