Collegiate Presence: An Innovation in Understanding Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Friday, 3 August 2012: 10:35 AM

Marc Broadbent, RN, GradCert, GradDip, MEd
School of Nursing & Midwifery, Insitute for Health and Social Science Research, Noosaville, Australia
Lorna Moxham, PhD, RN
Ihssr, Institute of Health and Social Science Research, Rockhampton, Australia
Trudy Dwyer, RN, PhD
School of Nursing and Midwifery, CQ University, Rockhampton, Australia

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand the methodological rationale for an ethnographic approach to underpin the research findings

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand the concept of collegiate presence and its impact on interdisciplinary collaboration


Interdisciplinary collaboration is a cornerstone of healthcare service delivery across the globe. This presentation reports on an ethnographic study that examined the interdisciplinary relationships between emergency department (ED) triage nurses and mental health triage nurses who collaborate to deliver care to clients presenting with a mental illness.


For this research, time was spent in an Australian ED and mental health triage service. Participant observation, individual and group interviews, organisational documentation and field notes were all used to gather data that was analysed using the constant comparative method.


Four key factors that influenced the relationship were; the practice environment, the process of triage assessment, referral and response, the roles and scope of practice and collegiate presence. Research findings conclude that culturally disparate groups cannot develop a functional and collaborative working relationship without a deep understanding of, and appreciation for, each other’s culture.


Developing such a relationship requires collegiate presence that is built on communication, mindfulness, education and time spent together to develop a practice community. Collegiate presence draws from the theories of collegiality (Ayo & Fraser 2008), occupational presence (Reid 2008), cultural intelligence (Earley & Ang 2003) and mindfulness (Horton-Deutsch & Horton 2003) to describe a new and innovative way of conceptualising intercultural understanding in the workplace.

Ayo, L & Fraser, C 2008, 'The four constructs of collegiality', International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 57-66.

Earley, P & Ang, S 2003, Cultural intelligence: individual interactions across cultures, Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA.

Horton-Deutsch, S & Horton, J 2003, 'Mindfulness: overcoming intractable conflict', Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 186-193.

Reid, D 2008, 'Exploring the relationship between occupational presence, occupational engagement, and people's well-being', Journal of Occupational Science, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 43-47.