Background: Although grand rounds plays a major educational role at academic medical centers, there has been little investigation into the factors influencing the learners' decision to attend. Greater awareness of attendees' expectations may allow grand rounds planners to better accommodate the learners' perspective, potentially making continuing education activities more attractive and inviting.
Methods: We used both qualitative (part A) and quantitative (part B) techniques to investigate the motivators and barriers to grand rounds attendance. Part A investigated contextual factors influencing attendance as expressed through attendee interviews. Transcripts of the interviews were analyzed using grounded theory techniques. We created a concept map linking key factors and their relationships. In part B we quantified the motivators and barriers identified during the initial interviews through a survey of the grand rounds audience.
Results: Sixteen persons voluntarily took part in the qualitative study (part A) by participating in one of seven group interview sessions. Of the 14 themes that emerged from these sessions, the most frequent factors motivating attendance involved competent practice and the need to know. All sessions discussed intellectual stimulation, social interaction, time constraints and convenience, licensure, content and format, and absence of cost for attending sessions. The 59 respondents to the survey (part B) identified clinically-useful topics (85%), continuing education credit (46%), cutting-edge research (27%), networking (22%), and refreshments (8%) as motivators and non-relevant topics (44%) and too busy to attend (56%) as barriers.
Conclusion: Greater understanding of the consumers' perspective can allow planners to tailor the style, content, and logistics to make grand rounds more attractive and inviting.