Developing theory and practice: Creation of a Community of Practice through Action Research produced excellence in stroke care

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Journal Article
Journal of Interprofessional Care, 2011, 25 (2), pp. 91 - 97
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Much emphasis is placed on expert knowledge like evidence-based stroke guidelines, with insufficient attention paid to processes required to translate this into delivery of everyday good care. This paper highlights the worth of creating a Community of Practice (CoP) as a means to achieve this. Drawing on findings from a study conducted in 20002002 of processes involved in establishing a nationally lauded high quality Stroke Unit, it demonstrates how successful development of a new service was linked to creation of a CoP. Recent literature suggests CoPs have a key in implementing evidence-based practice; this study supports this claim whilst revealing for the first time the practical knowledge and skills required to develop this style of working. Findings indicate that participatory and democratic characteristics of Action Research are congruent with the collaborative approach required for developing a CoP. The study is an exemplar of how practitioner researchers can capture learning from changing practice, thus contributing to evidence-based healthcare with theoretical and practical knowledge. Findings are relevant to those developing stroke services globally but also to those interested in evidence-based practice. © 2011 Informa UK, Ltd.
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