Sustaining a Global Social Network

CITATION: Sustaining a Global Social Network: a quasi-experimental study

D.C. Benton and S.L. Ferguson. Int Nursing Review

DOI: 10.1111/inr.12270

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/inr.12270/abstract?campaign=wolearlyview

ABSTRACT

Aim: To examine the longer term impact on the social network of participating nurses in the Global Nursing Leadership Institute (GNLI2013) through using differing frequencies of follow-up to assess impact on maintenance of network cohesion.

Background: Social network analysis is increasingly been used by nurse researchers, however, studies tend to use single point-in-time descriptive methods.

Method: This study utilizes a repeated measures, block group, control-intervention, quasi-experimental design. Twenty-eight nurse leaders, competitively selected through a double-blind peer review process, were allocated to five action learning–based learning groups. Network architecture, measures of cohesion and node degree frequency were all used to assess programme impact.

Results: The programme initiated and sustained connections between nurse leaders drawn from a geographically dispersed heterogeneous group. Modest inputs of two to three e-mails over a 6-month period seem sufficient to maintain connectivity as indicated by measures of network density, diameter and path length.

Limitations: Due to the teaching methodology used, the study sample was relatively small and the follow-up data collection took place after a relatively short time. Replication and further cohort data collection would be advantageous.

Conclusions and policy implications: In an era where many policy solutions are being debated and initiated at the global level, action learning leadership development that utilizes new technology follow-up appears to show significant impact and is worthy of wider application. The approach warrants further inquiry and testing as to its longer term effects on nursing’s influence on policy formulation and implementation.

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