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Self-debriefing is an essential process that can help you reflect on your experiences, identify areas that you might need support, or improve, and enhance your clinical skills. Here are some steps you can take to self-debrief as a foundation doctor:

Schedule Time for Reflection:

Schedule dedicated time for self-reflection, such as after a shift or at the end of a clinical rotation.

Identify Goals:

Identify specific goals for your self-debriefing session. What do you want to reflect on? What areas do you want to improve?

Reflect on Your Experience:

Reflect on your experiences during your shift or clinical rotation. What went well? What could have been done better? What did you learn?

Analyse the Situation:

Analyse the situation, focusing on what worked, what did not work, and why. Consider the factors that contributed to the outcome, including patient factors, team dynamics, and your own decision-making process.

Identify Areas for Improvement:

Identify specific areas for improvement, based on your analysis of the situation. These may include clinical skills, communication skills, or decision-making processes.

Develop a Plan of Action:

Develop a plan of action for how you will address the areas for improvement. This may involve seeking feedback from colleagues or supervisors, attending training or educational sessions, or practicing specific skills.

Evaluate Progress:

Evaluate your progress regularly, and adjust your plan of action as needed. Celebrate your successes and reflect on your areas of growth.

Be Kind to Yourself:

Your mind might be very loud and bullying, telling you that you “should have done this” or “should have made this decision.” Remember your best will look different each day and notice these times as opportunities, not just to develop but also to practice being compassionate to yourself. 


Begin to associate the ending of one task with the beginning of another, for example, it could be you say in your mind “that task is finished” or you consciously breathe and shift your mindset to the next task. By strengthening this association, it will mean that when you are involved in an incident, which might have been overwhelming, you can regulate how you are feeling, and action it’s ending before moving on to the next activity. 


Self-debriefing is an ongoing process that requires practice. By being proactive and practising when you aren’t overwhelmed, it will mean when you really need it, the behaviour is already strengthened, making it easier to access.  

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