Questions to Keep Students on Track

Patient assessment scenarios have three general phases — briefing, performance, and debriefing. In the briefing phase, you explain instructions, performance objectives, and answer questions. A good briefing has an appropriate amount of detail, is specific, and defines success — the point at which the scenario will be complete — and/or evaluation criteria.

During the performance phase, the instructor should intervene as necessary for safety reasons and keep students progressing towards educational objectives. Training time is too valuable to let students wander too far from the desired instruction outcomes. Keep students on track with these questions as they progress through the scenario.

1. What safety hazards exist in this scenario?

2. How did you manage or mitigate those hazards?

3. What were your patient's initial assessment problems?

4. How did you manage those initial assessment problems?

5. What were the key findings during your secondary assessment?

6. What are your patient's problems?

7. Which problem is the top priority?

Remember your good questions will lead to good answers. If the student that asks the question goes off track, remind them to just answer the question you asked.

About the author

Greg Friese is Editor-in-Chief of He is an educator, author, paramedic, and marathon runner. Ask questions or submit tip ideas to Greg by e-mailing him at

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