Year

2014

Department

Faculty of Social Sciences

Abstract

General Practice training can be isolating. This isolation can lead doctors to choose to work decreased hours and have a lower intention to work in rural areas, with retention of GP registrars in rural areas an ongoing problem. Professional isolation can occur due to barriers to knowledge sharing, such as the structure of general practice in which registrars are alone in a room with a patient, and geographic barriers imposed by the large distances between registrars in rural and regional training programs.

Virtual Communities of Practice are a method of improving knowledge sharing and overcoming isolation that have shown clear benefit in the business literature and are also widely used in education. VCoPs have a more limited literature base in healthcare.

The aims of this research were to: review the international literature on VCoPs for GP training; ascertain whether VCoPs for GP training are acceptable to GP registrars and supervisors; explore how a VCoP for GP training would be designed and implemented; and ultimately discover whether a VCoP for GP training has benefits for registrars and supervisors in overcoming professional isolation and improving knowledge sharing.

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