Debriefing after a code?


i am a senior nursing student (graduate in may!) who is doing my final clinical rotation in the er and we just recently had a pediatric death in the er that was tough on everyone. they decided to do a little debriefing, which isn't normally done, in order to help everyone one.

well...i now need to do a teaching project on ways to help out your fellow nurses after a code or a traumatic situation or ways to kind of "debrief" each other in case a formal debriefing can't be done. i need help finding ideas or resources on this. does anyone have any ideas for me? any help would be greatly appreciated!



Altra, BSN, RN

6,255 Posts

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

Hi Giggles, I'm also doing my final critical care rotation, including the ED.

I'm surprised to hear that debriefing isn't normally done - it's standard in our hospital system.

I don't have specific resources for you, but if your hospital has an inpatient psych unit or outpatient psych clinic, those MH staff are likely to be involved in or at least aware of the procedures for debriefing after critical incidents. They can probably point you in the right direction.

HTH :)


79 Posts

I did my day in the ER today and there was a code. I observed and the patient died. I don't know if they had a debriefing, at least while I was there they didn't. I was a little shell shocked I will admit. I have never seen anyone die. I know that is part of nursing though. I have to take the good with the bad. I graduate in July and I suppose this is another stepping stone on the path to knowledge... Thank goodness it was not a child.


46 Posts

I was in the ER a few weeks ago, there was a code. I did CPR, because a wonderful nurse saw me in the corner, and asked me to take over. No debriefing. However, my instructor did speak with me about it, how how strange it is to look at their face. I think that helped me. It was just surreal seeing this pt on the bed, the eyes rolling back, his strange coloring, everything was surreal. I found myself starting at his face..but then trying not to. It's hard to explain.

I can't imagine a child dying. I'm sure experienced nurses will answer this question for you.

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