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Rolls, K., Kowal, D., Hansen, M., Group learning and networking are integral to contemporary views of organisational and knowledge management, and learning. Current healthcare structures however create practice silos that promote professional isolation and limit the flow and uptake of knowledge. Computer mediated communication (CMC) technologies transcend time and geography, enabling clinicians to communicate and interact with a broad range of colleagues continuously. This contrasts with traditional approaches to networking that rely on limited personal contacts and/or professional events. In 2003 the NSW Intensive Care Coordination and Monitoring Unit established ‘ICUConnect’, a listserv to network intensive care (IC) clinicians. Initially 130, predominantly senior nurses (94%), were enrolled, with subsequent members self-nominating. Literature suggests that membership uptake is mediated by a perceived need to network, limited internal resources, value, and intra-personal communication channels.

A descriptive study using a de-identified dataset examined how membership profiles changed from 2003 to 2009. Analysis included frequencies and proportions of descriptive variables, and chi-square tests for differences in proportions.

Membership totalled 1044 in the end of 2009 with 85% nurses, 7% doctors and 8% other healthcare professionals. There were significant changes over time in proportions for professions [2 11.4 p=0.04], location [2 103.3; p=0.000] and workplace [2 31.2; p=0.000]. Outside NSW smaller units had significantly less members (Level 3-61; level 2-23; level 1-0).

The rapid uptake of membership is indicative of IC professionals’ desire and need to network, with self-nomination confirming the listerv’s value. The initial concept of professional isolation is confirmed by lack of members in smaller units outside NSW.


ANZICS & ACCCN Annual Scientific Meeting, Melbourne Victoria Australia. Poster Presentation.