A Grounded Theory Qualitative Analysis of Interprofessional Providers' Perceptions on Caring for Critically Ill Infants and Children in Pediatric and General Emergency Departments

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Abstract

Objective

The objective of this study was to explore pediatric emergency department (PED) and general emergency department (GED) providers' perceptions on caring for critically ill infants and children.

Methods

This study utilized qualitative methods to examine the perceptions of emergency department providers caring for critically ill infants and children. Teams of providers participated in 4 in situ simulation cases followed by facilitated debriefings. Debriefings were recorded and professionally transcribed. The transcripts were reviewed independently and followed by group coding discussions to identify emerging themes. Consistent with grounded theory, the team iteratively revised the debriefing script as new understanding was gained. A total of 188 simulation debriefings were recorded in 24 departments, with 15 teams participating from 8 PEDs and 32 teams from 16 GEDs.

Results

Twenty-four debriefings were audiotaped and professionally transcribed verbatim. Thematic saturation was achieved after 20 transcripts. In our iterative qualitative analysis of these transcripts, we observed 4 themes: (1) GED provider comfort with algorithm-based pediatric care and overall comfort with pediatric care in PED, (2) GED provider reliance on cognitive aids versus experience-based recall by PED providers, (3) GED provider discomfort with locating and determining size or dose of pediatric-specific equipment and medications, and (4) PED provider reliance on larger team size and challenges with multitasking during resuscitation.

Conclusions

Our qualitative analysis produced several themes that help us to understand providers' perceptions in caring for critically ill children in GEDs and PEDs. These data could guide the development of targeted educational and improvement interventions.

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