EMS Tips

Debriefing Challenging Incidents

Complex and critical patients are relatively rare for EMS providers. Those once in a blue moon calls challenge our assessment and treatment skills. How do you debrief, learn from, and share what you have learned from tough calls?

Ben Dengerink, a paramedic and blogger, wrote an excellent post on Debriefing Tough Calls at his Pre-Hospital blog.

Ben’s key tips include:

  • focus on the current call
  • start by discussing what went well
  • identify problems without assigning blame

Visit the Pre-Hospital blog to read the full post.

In any after-action situation the most difficult task is to have a discussion about went well. It is too easy to negatively critique any complex or difficult situation and overlook the positive actions, choices, and outcomes. Follow Ben’s advice and start by discussing what went well.

How can you share the debrief information with other medics that were not on the call?

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.