King, Nigel, Bravington, Alison, Brooks, Joanna, Head, Jane M. and Wilde, David (2017) “Go make your face known”: Collaborative working through the lens of personal relationships. International Journal of Integrated Care, 17 (4). ISSN 1568-4156

Collaborative working between professionals is a key component of integrated care. The academic literature on it largely focuses either on integration between health and social care or on the dynamics of power and identity between doctors and nurses. With the proliferation and extension of nursing roles, there is a need to examine collaborative working amongst different types of nurses.

This study explored experiences of collaborative working amongst generalist and specialist nurses, in community and acute settings. We carried out semi-structured interviews, incorporating the Pictor technique, with 45 nurses, plus 33 other key stakeholders. Transcripts were analysed using Template Analysis. This article focuses on one major thematic area that emerged from the analysis: the significance of interpersonal relationships amongst nurses, and between them and other professionals, patients and carers.

Relationship issues were ubiquitous in participants’ accounts of collaborative working. Good personal relationships facilitated collaboration; face-to-face interaction was especially valued. Relationships were recognized as requiring effort, especially in new roles. Organisational changes could disrupt productive personal networks.

Relationship issues are integral to successful collaborative working. Policy and practice leaders must take this into account in future service developments. Further research into collaborative relationships in different settings is needed.

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