Social Network Mapping in Nursing Practice

Social Network Mapping in Nursing Practice.

The relations in the workplace are often complicated but they are essential because they play a crucial role in ensuring quality care providence, and proper coordination of the nursing environment.  In this paper, I will use a sociogram to try and depict the nursing environment from a visual perspective. Through the sociogram, I will explore the social links that I maintain which will hopefully give some insights to fellow nursing practitioners in regard to the helpful collaborations they can make in order to improve their service providence. I developed this socio network map from the data that I collected at my workplace for three consecutive days and it basically represents my interaction with the same group of individuals during the entire period.

Sociogram and Explanation

I am a nurse practitioner and in my line of work, I happen to provide continuous care by offering patient education, disease management, and a wide array of preventive health care services. In my sociogram, I will be using two lines to highlight the frequency of communication whereby the thick lines will indicate the most frequent communications and the dotted lines will represent the least frequent communications. Markedly, during my data collection period, I noticed that most of my interactions were with a nursing practitioner student with whom we collaboratively worked together to provide and improve patient care. In the sociogram, the color of the nursing practitioner student is light brown during our face to face interaction sessions and the straight line connecting to it depicts the constant flow of communication between us. In our small talks with this nursing practitioner student, our discussions cover a wide array of subjects including developing interventions, quality improvements, developing diagnoses, and cultural competence. I also interacted with the medical assistant who helped in readying the clients by checking their vital signs and making printout of any pending results such as the CT scans, x-rays, MRIs, or lab reports. As for the families’ and clients’ interaction, it was mostly to discuss the chronic disease management procedure and it only happened during their scheduled appointment dates. Finally, my interaction with the CEO was for the purpose of assisting in the preparation of federal audit reports and other emerging staff issues.

My sociogram has diverse colors depending on the types of communication that were used during the interactions. The central oval circle represents me whereas the triangle represents the patients and the active contact that we have with their families which comes in handy in ensuring medical compliance. During the three days data collection period, I saw a considerable number of patients which is why the identification line is straight as an indication that there was a constant flow of communication be it consultation, treatment, or follow up. My interaction with the patients was on a face to face basis hence it is indicated using a light brown color on the sociogram. Notably, I maintained a formal communication between clients and their families but according to Ozaras & Abaan (2018), there is a need for a long-term working relationship in order to establish a rapport of trust.

During the three days window period, I continuously interacted with the same group of individuals in the workplace including the CEO, Medical Assistant, nursing practitioner student, and clients. The clients were showing up for follow-up appointments, first-time visit to the facility, or a review of the lab results. Whenever I communicated with the medical assistance, it was to request for the information that I required in order to complete the client’s visit. On the other hand, the nursing practitioner student helped me to review the health information of the client and also offered some insights when reviewing lab reports, x-rays, CT scans, and also the development of differential diagnosis. Finally, I regularly communicated with the CEO in regard to the future state audits, whereby we coordinated and reviewed the training required for the staff member in order to meet the state and federal requirements.

To ensure that the facility is on par with the Health Resources and Services Administration standards (HRSA), on the third day I reached out to the Electronic Health Records technical support team seeking assistance in running the reports needed for HRSA compliance. Markedly, this kind of activity usually involves interaction through calls and emails and doesn’t frequently happen. In the sociogram, the technical support node is depicted using blue color for calls and emails and the dotted line means that there is usually very minimal communication. Also, I happened to receive a call from the cardiologist who wanted to share a medical report of a mutual client whom I had earlier referred for the routine workup tests at the cardiology department. Notably, my interactions with specialists such as cardiologists are often occasional and virtual and as such, I ensure that all the information of the mutual client is availed so as to enhance efficient and effective communication across the multi-disciplinary levels. Finally, I responded to emails that I received from other staff members, mostly from the pharmacy department who were requesting the client’s prescription refills, a task which is usually handled by a medical assistant.

Reflection

            As a nurse practitioner, I noticed that each day I communicate and interact with clients, medical assistants, nursing practitioner students, and the CEO. Through my three-day data gathering period and the subsequent data analysis that I made when interpreting the sociogram, I have got a clear understanding of my day to day contacts in the workplace alongside the approaches that I use to make and maintain communication. Just like Chan & Leung (2018) state, I was to some extent relying on social network sites like twitter to communicate with fellow staff members especially when emails took long to get a response. However, since it is not recommended to give professional advice to patients without conducting a firsthand evaluation of their condition (Sabot, 2017), I limited the social interaction to work colleagues and never in any instance contacted my patients of their family.

Discussion

When I was developing the sociogram, it was easy to identify the contribution of other staff members when providing patient care. Most importantly, the sociogram helped me notice the contributions of the nursing practitioner student, medical assistants, specialists such as the cardiologist, and the CEO in ensuring that the patients are properly diagnosed.  Through the sociogram, I have established that there is the need for a proper interdepartmental coordination program which will ensure that the clinical environment is enhanced and that there is open and timely sharing of information (Strandås & Bondas, 2018). This way, I will not have to respond to multiple calls from the pharmacy department seeking prescription refills since such a program will allow them to access the prescription type and amount from their end. If the interaction between staff members is made flawless, the facility will provide the best hospital experience and will possibly exceed the state and federal standards. According to Morgan et al. (2015), good communication and coordination are all that is needed to ensure that the overall hospital experience is improved. When everything is running smoothly, the clients develop a feeling of trust which facilitates the healing process.

References

Chan, W. S., & Leung, A. Y. (2018). Use of social network sites for communication among health professionals: Systematic review. Journal of Medical Internet Research20(3), e117.

Morgan, S., Pullon, S., & McKinlay, E. (2015). Observation of interprofessional collaborative practice in primary care teams: an integrative literature review. International Journal of Nursing Studies52(7), 17-30.

Ozaras, G., & Abaan, S. (2018). Investigation of the trust status of the nurse–patient relationship. Nursing Ethics25(5), 628-639.

Sabot, K., Wickremasinghe, D., Blanchet, K., Avan, B., & Schellenberg, J. (2017). Use of social network analysis methods to study professional advice and performance among healthcare providers: a systematic review. Systematic Reviews6(1), 208.

Strandås, M., & Bondas, T. (2018). The nurse–patient relationship as a story of health enhancement in community care: A meta‐ethnography. Journal of Advanced Nursing74(1), 11-22.

Social Network Mapping in Nursing Practice

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