Reaching for the critical mass: Online Communities of Practice for global health and knowledge networking
by © 2012 ~ June Kaminski, MSN PhD(c)
Presented at Xi Eta Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau International 17th Annual Ethel Johns Forum - Feb 4th, 2012, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC.
"Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly." (Etienne Wenger) Communities of Practice - the term is new, but the practice is not. For Example: Groups of artists met in studios, cafes, homes to discuss and share techniques, theory, their work e.g. the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (1848 -1860) and the Impressionist Group (1870-1882).
Etienne Wenger popularized the term Community of Practice and listed three key characteristics:
☸ DOMAIN A CoP has an identity defined by a shared domain of interest, e.g. Art or Nursing.
☸ COMMUNITY CoP members meet to share expertise, engage in discussion and activities, help each other, develop, brainstorm, build ties, interact and learn together.
☸ PRACTICE CoP members are practitioners. They develop a shared repertoire of resources, experiences, stories, tools: a shared practice.
In 2010, a Research - Global Health Committee was formed by the Xi Eta Chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society in Vancouver. June Kaminski (Chair) initiated the Committee and began to articulate the purpose and objectives of the group.
An online Community of Practice was developed by the Chair, June Kaminski using Drupal CMS software to serve as a meeting place to support engagement and collaboration, a repository of documents and funding resources, and to collect pertinent resources to promote research and global health initatives and dialogue in the Chapter.
Next steps include reaching out to the global community, and organizing research and global health projects with our members. Dr. Hoogbruin has begun this process by beginning to initiate collaboration with Universities and health professionals in Chile. Other initiatives are in the incubation stage related to working with local First Nations peoples.