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Communities of practice: acknowledging vulnerability to improve resilience in healthcare teams
  1. Janet Delgado1,2,
  2. Janet de Groot3,
  3. Graham McCaffrey4,5,
  4. Gina Dimitropoulos6,
  5. Kathleen C Sitter6,
  6. Wendy Austin7
  1. 1 University Institute of Women's Studies, University of La Laguna, La Laguna, Spain
  2. 2 NICU, University Hospital of the Canary Islands, La Laguna, Spain
  3. 3 University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  4. 4 Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  5. 5 University of Cambridge, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK
  6. 6 University of Calgary Faculty of Social Work, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  7. 7 Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Janet Delgado, University Institute of Women's Studies, University of La Laguna, C/ Pedro Zerolo, s/n. Edificio Central. Apartado 456. Código postal 38200. San Cristóbal de La Laguna, S/C de Tenerife, Spain; jdelgadr{at}


The majority of healthcare professionals regularly witness fragility, suffering, pain and death in their professional lives. Such experiences may increase the risk of burnout and compassion fatigue, especially if they are without self-awareness and a healthy work environment. Acquiring a deeper understanding of vulnerability inherent to their professional work will be of crucial importance to face these risks. From a relational ethics perspective, the role of the team is critical in the development of professional values which can help to cope with the inherent vulnerability of healthcare professionals. The focus of this paper is the role of Communities of Practice as a source of resilience, since they can create a reflective space for recognising and sharing their experiences of vulnerability that arises as part of their work. This shared knowledge can be a source of strength while simultaneously increasing the confidence and resilience of the healthcare team.

  • professional - professional relationship
  • interests of health personnel/institutions
  • history of health ethics/bioethics
  • ethics

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  • Contributors All the authors have contributed to design the main ideas on this research through discussions and meetings. JD, JdG and GM conducted the research and wrote the main body of the manuscript. GD, KS and WA have contributed to review the report, and to introduce changes for clarity. All the authors have approved the final manuscript. All the authors have contributed to the review of the paper.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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