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136032 - Communities of practice - Final author version.pdf (333.66 kB)

Communities of practice: a systematic review and meta-synthesis of what it means and how it really works among nursing students and novices

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 08:34 authored by Terry, DR, Hoang NguyenHoang Nguyen, Peck, B, Smith, A, Hoang PhanHoang Phan
Aims and Objectives: To evaluate the enablers, barriers and impact that communities of practice have on novice nurses and students learning to become registered nurses.

Background: Communities of practice have formed the basis for conceptualising the process of learning that occurs among groups of people within a place of work-a mainstay of healthcare practice. There is a dearth of literature that focuses specifically on the outcomes from student and novice engagement with existing communities of practice.

Design: Systematic review and Meta-synthesis.

Methods: MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, ProQuest, Scopus and PsycINFO databases were accessed between 1997-2019. The screening and selection of studies were based on eligibility criteria and methodological quality assessment using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool for qualitative research. Meta-synthesis was grounded in the original experiences and collectively synthesised into meaningful themes. The review follows the PRISMA reporting guidelines and PRISMA checklist.

Results: The findings highlight three major themes and included enablers for successful communities of practice, barriers to successful communities of practice, and success in action as described by students and novice nurses.

Discussion: We suggest successful communities of practice occur when safe and supported spaces ensure students and novices feel comfortable to experiment with their learning, and we emphasise the benefits of having more novice nurses situated within close proximity and under the direct influence of the established practices of more experienced or core group of peers.

Relevance to Clinical Practice: Communities of practice that function successfully create an environment that prioritises the embedding of novices into the broader group. In so doing, students and novice nurses feel supported, welcomed, empowered, and able to make the transition from student to colleague and novice nurse to more experienced nurse. It allows them to experiment with ever new ways of fulfilling the role, while aiding better clinical outcomes.


Publication title

Journal of Clinical Nursing










Wicking Dementia Research Education Centre


Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Place of publication

9600 Garsington Rd, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox4 2Dg

Rights statement

© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Terry, D. R., Nguyen, H., Peck, B., Smith, A., Phan, H., 2019. Communities of practice: a systematic review and meta-synthesis of what it means and how it really works among nursing students and novices, Journal of clinical nursing, 1-11, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Learner and learning not elsewhere classified