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Journal Title

Advances in Simulation

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Background: Training emergency medical services (EMS) workforce is challenging in rural and remote settings. Moreover, critical access hospitals (CAHs) struggle to ensure continuing medical education for their emergency department (ED) staff. This project collected information from EMS and ED providers across Nebraska to identify gaps in their skills, knowledge, and abilities and thus inform curriculum development for the mobile simulation-based training program.

Methods: The needs assessment used a three-step process: (1) four facilitated focus group sessions were conducted in distinct geographical locations across Nebraska to identify participants' perceived training gaps; (2) based on the findings from the focus group, a needs assessment survey was constructed and sent to all EMS and ED staff in Nebraska; and (3) 1395 surveys were completed and analyzed.

Results: Thematic areas of training gaps included cardiopulmonary conditions, diabetes management, mass casualty incidents (MCI), maternal health and child delivery, patient assessment, pediatric care (PC), and respiratory emergency care. Gaps in non-clinical skills were related to crisis management such as maintaining effective teamwork. Participants frequently identified cardiopulmonary care, PC, and MCI as highly needed trainings. Other needs included life support-related retaining courses, sessions informing protocol updates, the availability of retraining tailored for rural areas, substance use-related emergencies, and farming-related injuries.

Conclusion: EMS and ED staff identified several skill gaps and training needs in the provision of emergency services in rural communities. These results allow for the development of customized training curricula and, with the help of an on-site simulation-based program, can identify gaps in health professionals' skills, knowledge, and abilities and thus help them respond to acute healthcare needs of rural communities.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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