King, Nigel and Ross, A. (2004) Professional Identities and Interprofessional Relations:. Social Work in Health Care, 38 (2). pp. 51-72. ISSN 0098-1389

Despite the widespread support for integrated community care in the U.K., interdisciplinary working between health and social service staff remains complex and tentative. This paper represents the findings of an evaluative research study of two collaborative community nursing schemes at differing stages of project development within West Yorkshire, England. The studies set out to explore in depth the ways social and health care professionals construe their identity and relationships within the changing context of collaborative projects. The research adopted a constructivist phenomenological approach, conducting focus groups with social workers and district nurses; supplemented by in-depth individual interviews. Using template analysis enabled the researchers to explore themes and issues generated from the groups and individuals. A number of areas associated with professional identity and the development of roles in response to changing situations were identified as pertinent including; role ambiguity, role erosion and extension. In cases where joint working required a reconstructing of professional identity, individuals were constrained by their personal meanings, organizational arrangements and public perceptions. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

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