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Needs Assessment: Nursing Education and Care Techniques Essay

Education Needs Assessment

Ever since the establishment of modern medicine, it has become clear that nursing education is not only vital to the effective implementation of medicinal care but also the continuous advancement of medicine as a whole (Boctor, 2013; Keating, 2014; Martel et al., 2014). In recent years, the advancement of medical technology, nursing techniques, and theories have put additional focus on nursing training.

While it may seem that a new technology or technique would only improve the working environment of the hospitals by reducing negative patient outcomes and excessive paperwork, the reality might prove to be different if proper training needs are not assessed. Proper training programs should always be considered when a new element is introduced into the workflow of the hospital, not only to effectively utilize the element but also to prevent any errors that might occur from lack of training. A great number of studies have been done on the topic of nurse training, and this paper will utilize this information to fulfill its goal (Öztürk, Çalışkan, Baykara, Karadağ & Karabulut, 2015; Park, Chu, Hwang, Kim & Lee, 2015).

King Fahad Medical City is located in Riyadh, and it is the target for education need assessment for this research. The so-called educational need is often presented as the gap between the knowledge of a person, and the level of knowledge required for the proper completion of the task presented by the employer or another authority figure (Fairchild et al., 2013). To create an efficient and effective nursing program, these educational gaps need to be accurately defined among the nursing staff. This paper will utilize the results of the education needs assessment to create a foundation for the creation of a training program that would address the educational needs of the nurses working in the Emergency Unit.

The following paper will present the theoretical and background information that was utilized in the study, as well as the data collection methods that were utilized, analysis of the data, an overview of an educational program, and finally the summary of the acquired information.


King Fahad Medical City is a large medical facility focused on providing state of the art nursing care through the use of modern technologies and techniques. This mission statement requires the medical staff to be continuously educated to successfully implement the new methods of care. Education needs assessment is required to facilitate the creation of the most appropriate training programs. Through the use of this assessment, bias is eliminated, plans can be drafted, and the efficiency of learning is increased through careful estimation of required resources. Even small changes in practice may lead to the creation of new education needs. This is why an assessment is required before the creation of new programs.

Data Collection Methods


The location for the presented research is the Emergency Unit at King Fahad Medical City. The research involves surveying a sample of 26 registered nurses’ operation in the unit. The researcher currently works in the designated unit and has extensive knowledge of the unit’s operation. This is why the unit was chosen for this research. The experience of the researcher allowed them to more accurately determine potential knowledge gaps in the methodology of the Emergency Unit.

This is a common practice in the education needs assessment because it often provides better overall results. The initial planning for the research was conducted through a roundtable discussion with six other nurses of the Emergency unit, which confirmed the researcher’s original guesses of the present educational needs. Through the roundtable discussion, the main topics were chosen that would later be ranked by the nurses (Oermann & Gaberson, 2016).

The experience of the researcher is also utilized to predict the likely outcomes of the survey. The unit has previously experienced some medication errors that were possibly caused by a lack of training during the implementation of the new medication procedures. Such errors are common in Emergency Units in many medical facilities, but to guarantee successful patient outcomes, the errors should be eliminated or kept to a minimum.

Tool: Development, Validity, and Structure

The majority of data being utilized for education needs assessments are subjective and gathered from surveys of different kinds. However, elements of objective information can also be introduced for additional accuracy. The tool for this research was chosen to be a questionnaire. This is one of the most common tools in education needs assessment data collection. The questionnaire has to be created logically, through a structured, systematic approach.

Although it is recommended to utilize a previously approved and validated questionnaire, the researcher was unable to locate one that would accurately apply to the selected sample. Therefore, the data collection tool was developed. During the development process, a variety of scholarly sources on the topic were utilized, which could be seen in the references to this paper. The validity of the questionnaire was confirmed by the training department of the medical facility. The tool was tested on a live group and was once corrected to streamline and correct some of the questions (Timmins, 2015).

When the development and testing were complete, the final tool consisted of multiple parts. The parts included a demographic section, and education needs assessment based on the Likert scale, an open questions section, and a combined multiple-choice and open question section designed to uncover learning preferences (see Appendix A). By combining various styles of questionnaires enabled the gathering of different types of useful information.

Open-ended questions allowed for more descriptive and thought out answers, while the Likert scale provided an easily interpretable data (Barua, 2013). The demographic data allowed the researcher to consider possible relationships between the educational needs and the experience of the nurses working in the Emergency Unit. The questioner was designed with two types of a score in mind.

The first type was designed to measure how essential were the chosen topics. This score was determined by the number of answers who consider the topic to be the most essential one. Then the final score was calculated based on a metric where the option marked “most essential” is worth three points, the option marked “essential” is worth two points, and the option marker “least essential” is only worth a single point. The second part was focused on the educational needs and the motivation of the nurses. Finally, the learning preferences section allowed the researcher to see the most preferred types of educational programs and learning aids. However, the tool has inherent limitations. Not all of the participants are self-aware enough to provide the most accurate responses and assessments. The answers in such cases would be considered “perceived” educational needs. While they might not be the most reliable, their inclusion can still be beneficial to the study.

Tool Implementation and Related Difficulties

During the implementation process, the tool was reproduced on a printer and distributed to the sample group by the researcher. The nurses were unable to complete the questioner together due to the tight schedule of the Emergency Unit. Nevertheless, all 26 members of the sample group delivered the completed sheets before the deadline. The original plan was to create an electronic version of the tool that the sample group would be able to fill out during the work hours, but after some consideration, the printed method was chosen for the implementation.

The physical nature of the printed out questionnaires allowed for more portability and convenience that was essential for all of the sample group members. The majority of the members filled out the tools at home, with only three having the time to do it during a work break. However, none of the questionnaires were returned unfilled which allowed for an accurate sample of information to be gathered.

The printed versions of the tools satisfied all of the participants. This reaction suggests that the implementation process was successful and appropriate for the educational needs of the group. Minor issues were encountered during the implementation, however, which could become larger issues if they were not promptly addressed. Two of the first people to use the tool found the phrasing of the third section slightly confusing. To avoid further misunderstandings, all of the nurses in the sample group were contacted, and the nature of the questions was clarified to them. This issue was not noticed during the initial testing process and therefore could not be fixed after the printed versions of the tool were created.

Another minor issue came from the titles of the priority levels outlined in the second section of the questionnaire. Although none of the nurses had issues with the first two levels of priority, the last level titled “least essential” has proven to be a point of contention among five of the nurses. The issue came from the members being unable to consider any of the issues to be “least essential.” The phrasing suggested that this issue does not require attention while the original intention was only to rank the topic that should be less prioritized than the first two. While the issue was resolved through a short clarification, the need for less suggestive phrasing in future tool development is clear.

Data Analysis

All of the 26 questionnaires that were handed out were filled out by the control group, making the response rate of the survey 100%. This is a relatively rare case because even in small sample groups, there are often factors that prevent at least some members from completing the questionnaire. This result can be caused by the fact that the researcher had worked with all of the group members for a significant number of years before the questionnaire was devised. The demographics of the test show that all of the nurses have had experience working in an Emergency unit for at least three years. Six of the nurses had a minimum of three years of work, five have worked for four years, ten had over five years of work, and five have worked for longer than eight years. The ages of the participants ranged from 25 to 48 (Parahoo, 2014).

Most Essential Total Score Most Essential %
Medication Errors 12 40 40%
Catheter Injection 10 32 31%
Technology Operation 4 13 29%

Table 1. Survey Results.

Table 1 shows the results of the testing. The presented topics were at least once selected by the participants as being the most essential. The topic of medication errors was not chosen as the “least essential” by any of the participants who make its total score correspond to its ME percentage. Twelve of the nurses chose it to be the most essential topic. Ten nurses chose catheter injection to be the most essential topic, and four chose technology operation. Figure 1 illustrates the percentile of topics chosen as most essential.

Percentage of Choices.
Figure 1. Percentage of Choices.


The results of the survey are indicative of the medication errors being the most important topic of education needs in the Emergency Unit. It is closely followed by the need to provide more education on the topic of catheter injection. The least chosen topic was technology operation which signifies relative confidence in that topic among the responders. Medication errors were the most selected topic among all the nurses with no external factors such as age or experience affecting the answers of the nurses. According to the third section, medication errors were found to be the most difficult to avoid by 13 nurses. The assumptions of the researcher have proven partially inaccurate because technology operation was considered to be a more difficult topic (McDonald, 2017).

The fourth section has shown that the majority of the nurses (80%) were interested in video demonstrations as the primary education method. At the same time handouts were the primary education aid chosen by the participants (75%). Other options have shown to be less preferred by the participants. Videos have proven to be an easily understood method of education which explains the interest of the participants (Parwanda et al., 2014).

The results of the survey were analyzed and utilized in the creation of an education plan that would address the present educational needs. The plan consists of a four-week program and covers all of the topics chosen by the participants. The time dedicated to each topic is determined by their score. The most important topic of the survey involved medication errors which give it the largest amount of time. Medication errors can lead to many negative outcomes, and therefore should be addressed with additional caution (Leufer & Cleary-Holdforth, 2013; Sneck, Saarnio, Isola, & Boigu, 2016). Improperly done catheter injections may lead to infection.

Although the procedure is extremely common in the work of an Emergency Unit nurse, the instances of improperly done injections are significant (Souweine et al., 2015; Wallis et al., 2014; Abolfotouh, Salam, Bani Mustafa, White & Balkhy, 2014). The third urgent topic concerned technology operation such as computers and other electronic tools utilized in the field. Implementation of new technologies often requires additional training, but it seems that the majority of nurses are very capable of technology operation. Due to this, the third topic receives the least amount of time (Nguyen, Eikebrokk, Moe, Tapanainen & Dao, 2016; Tran & Finch, 2014; Jones et al., 2014).

Week Topic Activities Duration
1 Medication Errors Video demonstration, lecture 8-10 hours
2 Medication Errors Group discussion, problem-solving 4-5 hours
2 Catheter Injection Video demonstration, lecture 6-7 hours
3 Technology Operation Video demonstration, lecture 4-5 hours
3 Review 3-4 hours
4 Evaluation, feedback Up to 10 hours

Table 2. Education Program Plan.

The developed plan represents the required intervention based on the information provided by the staff. It concerns the needs and preferences of the nurses and is expected to provide an improvement in the work of the emergency unit.


The research in the presented paper describes the process of education needs assessment of the Emergency Unit operating in the King Fahad Medical City. A survey was chosen as a data-gathering tool for the research. It has proven to be successful and allowed to determine which topics required additional attention in training. The information gathered in the course of research was utilized to create an education plan that should be able to improve the efficiency of the unit.


Abolfotouh, M., Salam, M., Bani Mustafa, A., White, D., & Balkhy, H. (2014). Prospective study of incidence and predictors of peripheral intravenous catheter-induced complications. Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, 10, 993–1001.

Barua, A. (2013). Methods for decision-making in survey questionnaires based on Likert scale. Journal of Asian Scientific Research, 3(1), 35.

Boctor, L. (2013). Active-learning strategies: The use of a game to reinforce learning in nursing education. A case study. Nurse Education in Practice,13(2), 96-100.

Fairchild, R., Everly, M., Bozarth, L., Bauer, R., Walters, L., Sample, M., & Anderson, L. (2013). A qualitative study of continuing education needs of rural nursing unit staff: The nurse administrator’s perspective. Nurse Education Today, 33(4), 364-369.

Jones, J., Ashford, P., Asher, D., Barker, J., Lodge, L., Rowley, M., White, J. (2014). Guidelines for the specification, implementation and management of information technology systems in hospital transfusion laboratories. Transfusion Medicine, 24(6), 341-371.

Keating, S. (2014). Curriculum development and evaluation in nursing. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Leufer, T., & Cleary-Holdforth, J. (2013). Let’s do no harm: Medication errors in nursing: Part 1. Nurse Education in Practice, 13(3), 213-6.

Martel, J., Oteng, R., Mould-Millman, N., Bell, S., Zakariah, A., Oduro, G., … Donkor P. (2014). The development of sustainable emergency care in Ghana: Physician, nursing and prehospital care training initiatives. The Journal of Emergency Medicine, 47(4), 462-468.

McDonald, M. (2017). The nurse educator’s guide to assessing learning outcomes. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Nguyen, H., Eikebrokk, T., Moe, C., Tapanainen, T., & Dao, T. (2016). Exploring health information technology implementation success factors: a comparative investigation in Nordic countries. International Journal of Healthcare Technology and Management, 15(4), 326.

Oermann, M., & Gaberson, K. (2016). Evaluation and testing in nursing education. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Öztürk, D., Çalışkan, N., Baykara, Z., Karadağ, A., & Karabulut, H. (2015). Determining the effect of periodic training on the basic psychomotor skills of nursing students. Nurse Education Today, 35(2), 402-407.

Parahoo, K. (2014). Nursing research: Principles, process and issues. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Park, S., Chu, M., Hwang, Y., Kim, S., & Lee, S. (2015). Effects of integrated nursing practice simulation-based training on stress, interest in learning, and problem-solving ability of nursing students. Journal of Korean Academy of Fundamentals of Nursing, 22(4), 424-432.

Parwanda, G., Rajan, J., Malar, A., Chacko, N., Choudhary, P., & Andrews, S. (2014). Effectiveness of video assisted teaching vs demonstration method on female urinary catheterization in terms of knowledge and practice. International Journal of Nursing Care, 2(1), 13.

Sneck, S., Saarnio, R., Isola, A., & Boigu, R. (2016). Medication competency of nurses according to theoretical and drug calculation online exams: A descriptive correlational study. Nurse Education Today, 36, 195-201.

Souweine, B., Lautrette, A., Gruson, D., Canet, E., Klouche, K., Argaud, L, … Timsit, J. (2015). Ethanol lock and risk of hemodialysis catheter infection in critically ill patients. A randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 191(9), 1024-1032.

Timmins, F. (2015). Surveys and questionnaires in nursing research. Nursing Standard, 29(42), 42-50.

Tran, J., & Finch, C. (2014). Are implementation science advances and digital technology developments important in sports medicine? Sports Medicine Australia thinks so. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48(8), 675-676.

Wallis, M., McGrail, M., Webster, J., Marsh, N., Gowardman, J., Playford, E., & Rickard, C. (2014). Risk factors for peripheral intravenous catheter failure: A multivariate analysis of data from a randomized controlled trial. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, 35(1), 63-68.

Appendix A


This study is designed to assess the educational needs of the Emergency Unit of the King Fahad Medical City. By filling out the questionnaire, you will provide valuable information that would be utilized to develop new training programs designed to fulfill the educational needs of the unit. This is not a test of your knowledge, but a representation of your opinion on the topics essential for the operation of the Emergency Unit. All the information provided by you will remain confidential. We thank you for your cooperation in the presented research!

Part One: Demographic Data

Please provide the following information:

  1. Your age:
  2. Your highest nursing education qualification:
  3. The number of years you have worked as a nurse:
  4. The number of years you have worked in an Emergency Unit:
  5. The number of years you have worked at King Fahad Medical City:

Part Two: Learning Needs

Three major topics were selected as possible sources of education needs. Please provide your opinion on whether the priority of these topics is representative of reality.

Priority Topic Your Opinion
Most Essential Medication Errors
Essential Technology Operation
Least Essential Catheter Injection

Part Three: Specifying Learning Needs

Please answer the following questions:

Medication Errors

1. Do you believe that the topic of Medication Errors needs further exploration? State your reason for the answer.


2. Can the topic of Medication Errors be subdivided into smaller topics which require more attention?


3. Which educational needs are relevant to you in the topic of Medication Errors?


Technology Operation

1. Do you believe that the topic of Technology Operation needs further exploration? State your reason for the answer.


2. Can the topic of Technology Operation be subdivided into smaller topics which require more attention?


3. Which educational needs are relevant to you in the topic of Technology Operation?


Catheter Injection

1. Do you believe that the topic of Catheter Injection needs further exploration? State your reason for the answer.


2. Can the topic of Catheter Injection be subdivided into smaller topics which require more attention?


3. Which educational needs are relevant to you in the topic of Catheter Injection?


Part Four: Educational Preferences

  1. Out of the presented options, select the education techniques that you find more effective:
    1. Group discussions
    2. Video demonstrations
    3. Lectures
    4. Role-playing
    5. Other (please specify)
  2. Select one or more educational aids that you find effective during the educational process:
    1. PowerPoint presentations
    2. Handouts
    3. Videos
    4. Other (please specify)

Thank you for providing your time to the Education Needs Assessment Questionnaire!

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