Networks of nurses: A case study in informal networks of advice
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Informal social networks within organizations are all too often very different from the planned, formal networks structured for efficiency. A group of nurses on a large ward in a teaching hospital were studied as a case study to analyze links that relate to the seeking of advice on clinical, administrative and personal matters. The nurses were arranged into a reporting structure and a team structure to support the preceptionship role of the hospital. The professional support that nurses obtain from colleagues both within their teams and across other teams was studied to determine the amount of collaboration outside their direct reporting clusters, mentors and team members. This involved the analysis of both formal and informal networks of nurses, the influence gained by position in the network, clustering of nurses and finally workload and its effect on key nurses. The main findings were that nurses sought information across their formal team boundaries more than within and required administrative duties competed with clinical duties for senior nurses. © 2013 IEEE.
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