Learning and Networking: Utilization of a Primary Care Listserv by Pharmacists
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BACKGROUND: Expanding into new types of practice, such as family health teams, presents challenges for practising pharmacists. The Primary Care Pharmacy Specialty Network (PC-PSN) was established in 2007 to support collaboration among pharmacists working in primary care. The PC-PSN offers to its members a listserv (also referred to as an electronic mailing list) jointly hosted by the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists and the Canadian Pharmacists Association. OBJECTIVES: To characterize PC-PSN membership and participation in the listserv and to examine how the listserv is used by analyzing questions posted, concerns raised, and issues discussed. METHODS: Qualitative content analysis was used to examine 1 year of archived PC-PSN listserv posts from the year 2010. Two coders used NVivo software to classify the content of posts. Research team members reviewed and discussed the coding reports to confirm themes emerging from the data. RESULTS: Overall, 129 people (52.9% of the 244 listserv members registered at the end of the calendar year) posted to the listserv during the study period. These participants worked in various practice settings, with over half residing in Ontario (68/129 [52.7%]). A total of 623 posts were coded. Agreement between coders, for a sample of posts from 10 users, was acceptable (kappa = 0.78). The listserv was used to share information on a diverse set of topics, to support decision-making and acquire solutions for complex problems, and as a forum for mentorship. CONCLUSIONS: The qualitative content analysis of the PC-PSN listserv posts for the year 2010 showed that the listserv was a medium for information-sharing and for providing and receiving support, through mentorship from colleagues. Apparent learning needs included effective question-posing skills and application of evidence to individual patients.
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