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Keywords:

  • computer-mediated communication;
  • Internet;
  • listserv;
  • rehabilitation;
  • rehabilitation nursing

Rehabilitation nursing is a specialty with its own values, beliefs, practice, and language. Nurses are socialized to a specialty through their work interactions, professional readings, and professional affiliations. In this new millennium, nurses can communicate beyond their immediate environment with peers around the world through e-mail discussion groups (e.g., LISTSERV®). The Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN) created the RehabNurse-L LISTSERV in May 1999 to provide a vehicle for nurses to network with colleagues worldwide. In this study, we reviewed the communications posted on that LISTSERV in an 18-month period to identify the discussion topics and the demographics of the 475 people who became members of the LISTSERV simply by logging onto the site. Of that number, 318 posted some type of communication—whether it be a comment or a question or a response to a previously-asked question. Members were from Australia, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Topics discussed included professional and clinical issues, disability and impairment, administration and regulation, cultural and international issues, and LISTSERV housekeeping issues. LISTSERV provides quick access to peers, an avenue for information sharing, and a unique support system—all of which offer many potential benefits to professional nurses in their daily practice.