Collegiate presence: explaining homogenous but disparate nursing relationships


  • M. Broadbent PhD RN CCRN MEd MACMHN FCN,

    Senior Lecturer, Corresponding author
    1. Institute for Health and Social Science Research, Central Queensland University, Noosaville BC, Qld
    • Correspondence:

      M. Broadbent

      Central Queensland University

      PO Box 1128 Noosaville BC

      Qld 4566



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  • L. Moxham PhD RN MHN MEd BHSc DAS(Nsg) GCert OH & S GCert Qual Mngt Cert IV Training & Assessment FACMHN FACON

    1. School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia
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  • Conflict of Interest: There are no actual or potential conflicts of interest financial, personal, or other relationships with other people or organizations that could inappropriately influence, or be perceived to influence, this paper.


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.


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.