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Recent changes in policy and culture require health workers to incorporate “knowledge work” as a routine component of professional practice. Innovative computer-mediated communication technologies provide the opportunity to evaluate the nature of “knowledge work” within nursing and midwifery. This study embedded an online discussion system into an acute NHS Trust to support interaction within communities of practice. The complete record of online communications was analysed.
Nurses were found to predominantly engage in information work with knowledge work restricted to senior-to-senior level exchanges. In contrast, midwives were observed to employ the technology to support knowledge work between all grades.
The study indicates that technology can support knowledge work, including conveying tacit knowledge effectively.
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