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Multidisciplinary educational needs assessment of critical care in community hospitals


Performing a needs assessment is essential to ensure that educational interventions and materials created will address areas of deficit in the learners knowledge/skills. The goal of this Ministry-funded project was to determine the educational needs of healthcare professionals from community hospitals in the context of Ontario's Critical Care Strategy (CCS). The study hypothesis was that a novel model, applying sound principles of education research, must be created to concomitantly assess the needs of multiple disciplines.


A mixed-methods design was employed, combining both qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques. Numerous sources were triangulated, including a comprehensive literature review, expert consultation, questionnaires, and multidisciplinary and discipline-specific focus groups. Interviews were held with the CCS and Local Health Integrated Networks (LHIN) leaders. Selective sampling was used to ensure greater validity and allow for a smaller sample. Qualitative data were audio recorded and coded. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics (frequencies, cross-tabulations and gap analysis).


A high proportion of LHIN (10/13) and CCS leaders (6/7) were sampled. Physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and pharmacists were represented in seven focus groups. The ABCs of critical care figured prominently in educational needs, as did sepsis, pediatric emergencies, codes, trauma, medications and technical skills. The common denominator expressed by professionals was the infrequency of these events, resulting in lack of exposure, experience, and training through which they could become confident. There was no statistically significant difference between educational needs identified between physicians, nurses and respiratory therapists.


We conducted a multidisciplinary needs assessment to identify perceived and nonperceived educational needs of healthcare providers working in community hospitals. No differences in needs were identified between the major disciplines.

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Sarti, A., Hayes, S., Cardinal, P. et al. Multidisciplinary educational needs assessment of critical care in community hospitals. Crit Care 12 (Suppl 2), P531 (2008).

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