Communities of practice (CoP) are “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” (Wenger, 1988).
- Mentoring Monday
- Power Hour
- This CoP emerged organically as nurses needed support and empowerment during the pandemic. It continues to provide opportunities for nurses to share their insights, successes, and concerns in an open-ended format. White it will always offer some time for nurse-led discussion, it may also function as a focus group wherein nurses can share feedback on specific questions.
- Special Topics Cafe
- In this professional community of practice, nurses will have an opportunity to engage with our partners to learn about and discuss current topics in school nursing. Generally there will be a presentation followed by an opportunity for Q&A.
- Equity Task Force
- This professional CoP provides nurses and our partners opportunities to explore our individual experiences and belief systems while we look at our organizational systems, centering equity.
According to Wenger (1998), communities of practice provide five critical functions. They:
- Educate by collecting and sharing information related to questions and issues of practice
- Support by organizing interactions and collaboration among members
- Cultivate by assisting groups to start and sustain their learning
- Encourage by promoting the work of members through discussion and sharing
- Integrate by encouraging members to use their new knowledge for real change in their own work.
Communities of practice are important as a professional learning strategy, because they have the potential to:
- Connect people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to interact, either as frequently or at all.
- Provide a shared context for people to communicate and share information, stories and personal experiences in a way that builds understanding and insight.
- Enable dialogue between people who come together to explore new possibilities, solve challenging problems, and create new, mutually beneficial opportunities.
- Stimulate learning by serving as a vehicle for authentic communication, mentoring, coaching, and self-reflection.
- Capture and share existing knowledge to help people improve their practice by providing a forum to identify solutions to common problems and a process to collect and evaluate best practices.
- Introduce collaborative processes to groups and organizations to encourage the free flow of ideas and exchange of information.
- Help people organize around purposeful actions that develop tangible results.
- Generate new knowledge to help people transform their practice to accommodate changes in needs and technologies. (Adapted from Cambridge, Kaplan & Suter)
From Why Communities of Practice Are Important (Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium)
To ensure that our Communities of Practice can work with more specific focus and intent, and in response to member requests, we have fine-tuned the purposes or our existing monthly groups and define each below. Each community has a regularly scheduled day/time, though that can be revised due to holidays or vacation scheduled, so pay attention to specific dates.