Aims and Rationale
General Practice training faces geographic barriers to efficient knowledge sharing, collaboration and professional and social support amongst its participants. In industry, large companies use internet tools to create Virtual Communities of Practice which improve collaboration, information sharing and support amongst staff. This study examined the feasibility of using Web 2.0 tools to create a Virtual Community of Practice for GP training.
Following a previous quantitative survey study, a qualitative telephone interview study was undertaken with GP Registrars and Supervisors in a Regional Training Provider. Participants were selected on the basis of highest internet usage in the previous study. Thematic analysis was conducted by two researchers independently using manual coding of transcriptions, then discussing themes until agreement was reached.
7 GP Registrars and 3 GP Supervisors participated, average age 38.2 years. Themes emerged regarding isolation - both geographic and on transition from hospital; the potential for online forums, chat and shared resources to improve peer support and knowledge sharing; and barriers to social media usage such as time, connectivity and skills.
Benefits to Registrar Training
GP training faces some geographical and workplace barriers. Virtual Communities of Practice and Web 2.0 tools may help to improve GP training by overcoming these barriers, thereby improving peer support and knowledge sharing. Virtual Communities of Practice in GP Training should be further investigated.