Making Sense of Collaborative Practices: Practice as a Social and Scientific Phenomenon

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Workshop Description (objectives, methods, results, conclusions): The concept of “practice” has received little attention in healthcare literature. This is an important oversight as practitioners tend to equate the dominant scientific discourse with practice. This covers over the social nature of individual and team-based practices. Social theorists argue that human nature is ‘helplessly’ social and interdependent. This failure to recognize the social construction of knowledge and knowing influences our ability to engage in collaborative practice and provide whole person care. We cannot see where “hidden practices” (the practice equivalent to 'hidden curriculum') influence what we can see and what remains hidden, what we can say and what we must keep silent about, or which actions are encouraged and which are constrained. We will explore the paradox of the co-existence of rational science and social constructionist views of knowledge and knowing and propose that practices are complex, responsive, processes of relating that are informed by, and in turn, challenge and further inform science. Using a mix of presentation, personal reflection, and case studies in small groups, this 90 minute workshop we will explore the social nature of practice, the theory/practice (science/experience) paradox, and consider how this “two-eyed” understanding could facilitate the provision of whole person care.Specific Objectives: Participants will be able to:1. Define collaborative practice2. Elaborate and understand their own experience of collaborative practice3. Differentiate between social and scientific paradigms and explain the differences and implications4. Explain the concept and implications of the practices of particular communities and of first- and second-order breakdowns5. Understand the nature of collaboration and distinguish it from included and related concepts of communication, coordination, cooperation, and co-location6. Articulate personal definitions of and strategies for and identify personal commitments to collaborative practice related to whole person care.

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