Infant Journal
for neonatal and paediatric healthcare professionals

Neonatal staff virtual debriefs: tips and pitfalls

This article describes our experiences of running a three-month pilot programme of psychology-led virtual and hybrid debriefs (including virtual and face-to-face participants) on our tertiary neonatal unit. Challenges, successes and participant feedback are summarised. We make practical recommendations on how to successfully implement psychology-led staff debriefs using a virtual platform, and propose virtual and hybrid debriefs as potential alternatives to face-to-face neonatal unit staff debriefing.

Sarah Chan
Locum Neonatal Consultant

Sarah-Jane Archibald
Clinical Psychologist

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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neonatal intensive care unit; debrief; staff wellbeing; clinical psychology; virtual
Key points
  1. Literature evidence and national guidance recommends neonatal staff debrief following distressing clinical cases.
  2. There is scant evidence on holding virtual debriefs and their impact on staff attendees.
  3. We ran a virtual debrief pilot programme on our NICU for neonatal and associated specialty staff. The sessions were co-chaired by the NICU’s clinical psychologist and a neonatal consultant.

Also published in Infant:

Navigating between technological and relational practice in neonatal care
As innovations in neonatal practice require clinicians to engage with increasingly technological medicine, staff must also prioritise family-integrated and relationship-centred care. These two modes of practice can compete for clinicians’ psychological resources. In this article I explore the implications of this dilemma and identify some ideas that might be useful in navigating the intersection of technological and relational practice.