Large-scale efforts to train clinicians in serious-illness communication skills are needed, but 2 important gaps in knowledge remain. (1) No proven training method exists that can be readily scaled to train thousands of clinicians. (2) Though the value of interprofessional collaboration to support incapacitated patients’ surrogates is increasingly recognized, few interventions for training intensive care unit (ICU) nurses in important communication skills can be leveraged to provide interprofessional family support.


To develop and test a web/videoconference-based platform to train nurses to communicate about serious illness.


A user-centered process was used to develop the intervention, including (1) iteratively engaging a stakeholder panel, (2) developing prototype and beta versions of the platform, and (3) 3 rounds of user testing with 13 ICU nurses. Participants’ ratings of usability, acceptability, and perceived effectiveness were assessed quantitatively and qualitatively.


Stakeholders stressed that the intervention should leverage interactive learning and a streamlined digital interface. A training platform was developed consisting of 6 interactive online training lessons and 3 group-based video-conference practice sessions. Participants rated the program as usable (mean summary score 84 [96th percentile]), acceptable (mean, 4.5/5; SD, 0.7), and effective (mean, 4.8/5; SD, 0.6). Ten of 13 nurses would recommend the intervention over 2-day in-person training.


Nurses testing this web-based training program judged it usable, acceptable, and effective. These data support proceeding with an appropriately powered efficacy trial.

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