SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract American society is demanding that health care organizations design a health care system that is more responsive to the needs of their communities. In their efforts to respond, organizations are challenged to better understand organizational dynamics, community needs, and community relationships. The purpose of this study was to explore and understand the meaning of caring for the community from the perspective of care providers in a hospital-based ambulatory program. Using a focused ethnographic design, the study was conducted in a community hospital close to a large metropolitan city. Research methods included open-ended interviews, participant observations, and examination of documents. Analysis of data revealed five major themes related to the experience of caring for the community. Themes reflected different perspectives of communities, recipro-cal relationships and teams, education and prevention, shared values, and understanding community needs. At the same time, an overarching theme related to wellness, growth, and empowerment emerged. Results provided knowledge that may help increase understanding of organizational culture that impacts the development of healthy communities. Findings may also help facilitate organizational change toward the development of new models of care that are integrated with the community.