• How Do Community Link Workers Use Information and Knowledge?

    Kristi Long (see profile)
    Knowledge management, Public health
    Item Type:
    University of Sheffield
    community health, knowledge brokering, knowledge community, link worker
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    Community link workers are non-clinical practitioners working within primary care who support patients to access community services. There has been limited attention to the role of information and knowledge work in community link working in the literature, although the value of community link workers’ knowledge of services has been noted. This study explores the question of how community link workers use information and knowledge. • How do practices such as knowledge brokering and boundary spanning enable link working? • How do CLW use people, systems or existing resources to source, create and share information and knowledge? • How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted on CLWs’ use of information and knowledge? The dissertation takes the form of a qualitative case study of a link working programme in Scotland using situational analysis. CLWs’ knowledge was demonstrated to be a professional expertise grounded in knowledge in and for practice, organised situationally around the act of linking. Linking is based on a complex range of factors related to the patient, the geography (what services are available, what is best 'fit' for the patient) and the context. Knowledge has a significant tacit component and held in a distributed way by the network. Information use and knowledge development is embedded in work tasks. The use of different types of information resources and the production of formal documentation is discussed. This tacit, flexible community of practice was very resilient and responsive during the pandemic, able to draw upon relationships and knowledge of patients and community services during periods of rapid change. A discussion of experiences of boundary spanning highlights the contribution of co-location as well as requirements for additional support. The opportunities and implications of referrals as a boundary object are discussed, and recommendations for facilitating organisational learning proposed.
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago


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