Implementing the Prebriefing Best Practice Standard During Mental Health Simulations with Prelicensure Nursing Students

Nature and scope of the project

Preparing students for a learning experience is standard educational practice. A simulation-based learning experience is divided into three phases: prebriefing, scenario, and debriefing. This quality improvement project incorporates the new Prebriefing: Preparation and Briefing standard (International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning {INACSL}, 2021) into four established mental health simulations. Pre-licensure nursing students enrolled in a mental health theory and clinical course will participate in the simulation learning experience.

Synthesis and analysis of supporting literature

The new Prebriefing: Preparation and Briefing standard (INACSL, 2021) provides a common language for prebriefing activities and a framework for the prebriefing phase of a simulation experience. Preparation refers to course content pertinent to the simulation scenario and briefing refers to expectations and ground rules necessary in a simulation environment. A structured prebriefing plan that actively engages students facilitates a deeper understanding of educational content and a more coordinated response to clinical care. The literature review suggests a structured prebriefing improves learner confidence, knowledge, clinical competency, and clinical decision-making.

Project implementation

A Briefing Guide is utilized by instructors at the start of the simulation day to orient students to simulation as a teaching-learning strategy and establishes psychological safety. A Structured Prebriefing Model is used as a framework to prepare students for each simulation scenario included in the Mental Health Simulation day. The model consists of three elements: (1) prior knowledge and learning; (2) an active learning activity such as expert role play or concept mapping; and (3) guided reflection-before-action questions. A Prebriefing Manual and experiential learning activity informed simulation instructors of the project requirements. The project will be implemented during the spring, 2023 semester.

Evaluation criteria

The School of Nursing Simulation Student Evaluation completed by each student at the end of the simulation day surveys students’ perceptions of their experience, psychological safety, self-confidence, and prebriefing effectiveness. The Prebriefing Experience Scale will be used to measure students’ perceptions of the prebriefing process. Simulation instructors will also evaluate the prebriefing process.


Evaluation data will be compared to previous semesters and across groups.


This project can guide future simulation design.



Implementing the Prebriefing Best Practice Standard During Mental Health Simulations with Prelicensure Nursing Students