Objectives: Simulation can serve as an effective educational method to provide experience and opportunities to learn about the nursing management of clinical cases in a secure environment. Numerous debriefing methods have been used in simulation in nurse education to improve clinical competencies and learning outcomes. However, there is insufficient evidence to identify the debriefing methods that are most effective in improving learning outcomes. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the focus is on debriefing methods and learning outcomes in simulation in nurse education. Design: This systematic review was conducted according to the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) statement. Data sources: Studies published from January 1995 to December 2016 were identified from PubMed, Embase, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Web of Science, CINAHL, the Cochrane Library, and Korean databases. Review methods: Experimental studies that used debriefing methods in simulation in nurse education were included as review studies. Studies that used identical validated measurement tools were included in the meta-analysis. We applied a random-effects model with subgroups. Effect sizes for learning outcomes according to debriefing methods were calculated using standardized mean differences. Results: A total of 18 studies were selected through systematic review and 7 studies were included in the meta-analysis using four types of scales measuring learning outcomes after debriefing. The overall effect size of the learning outcomes, according to the type of debriefing method, was 0.31. The results regarding debriefing methods were statistically non-significant in the learning outcomes (95% CI [−0.33–0.96], Z = 0.95, p = 0.34). A symmetric shape indicated a lack of publication bias. Conclusions: The study findings indicated that structured debriefing helped to improve learning. Future studies are needed to provide effective debriefing strategies with larger sample sizes.
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