Lessons and Insights From the Implementation of the Cohort Model for a PICU: A Case Study Research

Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2022 Oct 1;23(10):e456-e464. doi: 10.1097/PCC.0000000000003018. Epub 2022 Jun 8.


Objectives: The subspecialty cohort model allows for creation of smaller diagnosis pools, enabling concentration of expertise and collaboration. Given unknown effects of this model on team dynamics in a PICU, we examined how the cohort-model implementation was perceived by our providers and how this organizational change affected the work environment.

Design: Case study research approach consisting of surveys, operational observations, and semistructured interviews. A descriptive survey was derived from an integrated conceptual framework (i.e., teamwork and psychologic safety). Sensitized by the framework and quantitative survey data, we conducted a thematic analysis from field notes and interview data.

Setting: A quaternary-care, children's hospital with a 31-bed PICU.

Subjects: PICU providers and nurses and subspecialists.

Intervention: Implementation of the subspecialty cohort model.

Measurements and main results: A total of 308 and 269 responses from pre- and postcohort surveys, respectively, were analyzed. Overall, 76% of physicians and 74% of nurses viewed the cohort model favorably. Three themes emerged: community-from disruption to redistribution, transforming identity-expert or generalist, and expansive learning from focused practice. The findings provided insights, informed by a theory of "Community of Practice," as lessons learned and ways to enhance the cohort model.

Conclusions: Our transition to a cohort PICU model offers lessons on impacts of PICU model changes on communities and teams. These theory-informed insights and implications can guide others undergoing similar transitions.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workplace*