The social network of a burn unit team

David A. Shoham*, Marlon P. Mundt, Richard L. Gamelli, William C. McGaghie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Effective team communication is critical in complex settings like hospital intensive care units. A social network analysis study was conducted in a burn intensive care unit, assuming physicians and key members of the nursing and clinical staff would occupy the core of a robust communication network. Clinical team members reported the frequency (0 to 3+ times) of discussion about patient care issues with every other coworker during a 24-hour period. We calculated the proportion of clinical team members completing the questionnaire, created a map (sociogram) of the network, identified central positions, and searched for weak points. A total of 69 coworkers were listed by 48 clinical team members (70% completion rate). There were 626 connections (arcs) present (density = 13.3%). The analysis revealed three distinct sets of team members caring for two sets of patients. The five clinical team members most central to the network included three physicians, a social worker, and a dietitian. We established the feasibility of collecting social network data on this medical team and identified robust communication patterns. This study will be used to guide subsequent data collection from this and other clinical teams to correlate team structural features with clinical process outcomes and patient safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-557
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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