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Open Access Research article

Essential pediatric hypertension: defining the educational needs of primary care pediatricians

Stephen D Cha12, Deena J Chisolm23 and John D Mahan12*

Author Affiliations

1 Pediatric Nephrology, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA

2 The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, OH, USA

3 The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA

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BMC Medical Education 2014, 14:154  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-154

Published: 27 July 2014



In order to better understand the educational needs regarding appropriate recognition, diagnosis and management of pediatric hypertension (HTN), we asked practicing pediatricians questions regarding their educational needs and comfort level on this topic.


We conducted 4 focus group sessions that included 27 participants representing pediatric residents, adolescent medicine physicians, clinic based pediatricians and office based pediatricians. Each focus group session lasted for approximately an hour and 90 pages of total transcriptions were produced verbatim from audio recordings.


Four reviewers read each transcript and themes were elucidated from these transcripts. Overall, 5 major themes related to educational needs and clinical concerns were found: utilization of resources to define blood pressure (BP), correct BP measurement method(s), co-morbidities, barriers to care, and experience level with HTN. Six minor themes were also identified: differences in BP measurement, accuracy of BP, recognition of HTN, practice pattern of care, education of families and patients, and differences in level of training. The focus group participants were also questioned on their preferences regarding educational methods (i.e. e-learning, small group sessions, self-study, large group presentations) and revealed varied teaching and learning preferences.


There are multiple methods to approach education regarding pediatric HTN for primary care pediatricians based on provider preferences and multiple educational activities should be pursued to achieve best outcomes. Based on this data, the next direction will be to develop and deliver multiple educational methods and to evaluate the impact on practice patterns of care for children and adolescents with HTN.

Pediatric hypertension; Primary care pediatricians; Primary care physicians; Medical education