Needs Assessment? What’s that?

October 19, 2012

At networking events or in conversations with other medical and science writers, when I say, “I write continuing medical education including needs assessments” before I can finish my sentence about slide sets, review articles, and monographs, the other person often says, “What’s a needs assessment?” After describing needs assessments many times, I thought it was time for a blog post.

Needs Assessments: The Basics

  • Part of a larger grant for obtaining funding ¬†for continuing medical education programs from pharmaceutical companies or other funding sources
  • The foundation upon which the entire educational program is built
  • Outlines current physician or nursing practices
  • Defines optimal physician or nursing practices
  • Highlights the gaps between current and optimal practices
  • The gaps support the need for education
  • Provides learning objectives based on gaps for the proposed educational program
  • Lists appropriate faculty for the activity

In the future, I will periodically provide posts with tips for writing needs assessments. Can you think of anything I missed in describing the basics of a needs assessment? Let me know in the comments section.