A needs analysis is the cornerstone of an educational programme development.1 Most needs analysis of felt needs is performed through surveys as they are easy to conduct. More innovative strategies are needed2 to generate needs analysis for new courses development. Focus groups are ideal for generating discussions around ideas expressed,3 in order to explore perceptions in depth.
Being commissioned by the Yorkshire Deanery to create a new simulation-based course for FY2 doctors, we conducted a focus group interview with an aim to identify trainees’ needs, and build a new course based on both the existent curriculum, and their felt needs.
Methodology Clinical governance approval was obtained. FY2 doctors from Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust were invited to attend. Eight trainees attended from a variety of placement following formal consent for participation. The facilitators framed the discussion using four questions. The discussion was transcripted and analysed using Krueger’s framework. We designed a simulation course addressing clinical and communication challenges.
Results We present how the focus group results are linked to this new course and how the post course feedback validates and confirms the focus group results. 98% of the course participants reported the course as ‘’ very relevant to their needs’’.
Conclusions We have demonstrated that stakeholder input prior to conception of a course are vital for the success of the course. One could argue that a single focus group interview is not enough for obtaining reliable results, but this problem was reduced by inviting trainees from different specialities, and different hospital placements. We believe that focus group interviews should be adopted more widely for ascertaining views of participants to support new course development.
Lockyer J. ‘’Needs Assessment: Lessons Learned’’, The Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions 1998;18:190–192
Norman GR, Shannon SI, Marrin ML. ‘’The need for needs assessment in continuing medical education’’, BMJ 2004; [doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7446.999.]- online
Krueger RA, Casey MA. Focus groups: A practical guide for applied researchers, 2000; (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
- Category: Course or curriculum evaluation/innovation/integration
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