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Keywords:

  • cross-cultural issues;
  • health services delivery;
  • interpersonal skills;
  • nursing role;
  • multidisciplinary care

Accessible summary

  • This paper contends that interdisciplinary relationships have an intercultural component to them.
  • A lack of understanding of cultural differences between interdisciplinary groups can lead to fragmented service delivery.
  • Collegiate presence may improve relationships, where cultural differences between disciplines are not understood.
  • Collegiate presence may improve service delivery when interdisciplinary groups function more cohesively.

Abstract

This paper examines the notion of collegiate presence. Collegiate presence is defined as a mutual connection between two or more professional individuals or groups who share a common work focus and who are mindful of cultural differences. This concept emerged as a result of an ethnographic study of two groups of triage nurses; emergency department, and mental health nurses. Data analysis exposed a number of concepts and themes including collegiality and presence. These two concepts were seen to be so closely connected that the term collegiate presence was constructed. This paper explores the notion of collegiate presence and examines factors that affect this phenomenon between what are homogenous (nurses) but disparate cultural groups (emergency department nurses and mental health triage nurses) in a health-care organization. Findings indicate that culturally disparate groups are challenged to develop functional and collaborative working relationships without a deep understanding of, and appreciation for, each other's culture. Developing collegiate presence requires effective communication, social and professional conversations, and physical presence.