Setting goals, not just roles: Improving teamwork through goal-focused debriefing

Aimee K. Gardner, Matthew Kosemund, Deborah Hogg, Abraham Heymann, Joseph Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction The role of goal setting within post-simulation debriefing is not well known. This study sought to examine how inclusion of group-level goals, individual-level goals, or no goals in the debriefing process impacts teamwork. Methods Students participated in two high-fidelity team training scenarios. Between scenarios, teams were assigned to one of three debriefing groups: jointly creating five teamwork goals for the group to achieve (group-level goals); independently creating five teamwork goals for each individual to attain (individual-level goals); or no goals. Paired-samples t tests and one-way ANOVA with post-hoc Tukey tests were used to examine performance improvements and differences between groups. Results 86 MS3s participated in the training program across 22 groups. Percentage of items achieved on the teamwork tool from first to second scenario were 61.7±20.4 to 60.2±8.8 (no goals; ns), 59.8±14.0 to 76.8±7.0 (individual goals; p<0.01), and 62.5±9.5 to 67.0±10.0 (group goals; ns). Performance improvement in the individual goals group was significantly higher than the no goals group (p<0.05). Conclusions Debriefing facilitators should encourage learners to focus on creating and achieving personal goals contributing to teamwork.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-252
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Debriefing
  • Goals
  • Simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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