Our 121-bed children’s hospital is a quaternary care referral center for a 33-county region. Referring hospitals asked for Pediatric Acute Care Education Sessions (PACES). To determine which topics to prioritize for these sessions, nominal group technique (NGT) methods were used to obtain stakeholder-prioritized consensus on education topics.


Five NGT sessions were conducted over 6 weeks at referring hospitals throughout central and northern California. Each session lasted ~90 minutes and engaged a diverse multidisciplinary group of stakeholders. At these sessions, stakeholders answered the question “What are your top 5 clinical topics that should be prioritized by PACES?” NGT numeric ranking methods were used to determine prioritized topics. A thematic analysis was performed on the session transcripts.


The 5 sessions had 43 total participants, including nurses, respiratory therapists, physicians, and administrators. The top 4 prioritized topics were sepsis, diabetic ketoacidosis, respiratory failure or support, and bronchiolitis and/or respiratory syncytial virus. Unique education needs for each hospital were also uncovered in the NGT discussion. Three qualitative themes emerged from the discussion: diverse educational needs, the need for guidelines on telemedicine and transfer, and relationship building.


The use of NGT to engage multisite, multidisciplinary stakeholders helped to inform an education program. The use of NGT methods provided rich information that would not have been obtained through surveys alone and helped facilitate relationship building. The PACES group was able to identify and prioritize education topics of interest to referring community hospitals.

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