Aims: To examine the nature and characteristics of both received and provided mutual support in a social network within an acute care hospital unit. Background: Current evidence regarding the social network in the health care workforce reveals the nature of social ties. Most studies of social network-related support that measured the characteristics of social support used self-reported perception from workers receiving support. There is a gap in studies that focus on back-up behaviour. Methods: The evaluation included a social network analysis of a nursing unit employing 54 staff members. A 12 item electronic survey was administered. Descriptive statistics were calculated using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. Social network analyses were carried out using ucinet, r 3.2.3 and gephi. Results: Based on the study findings, as providers of mutual support the nursing staff claimed to give their peers more help than these peers gave them credit for. Those who worked overtime provided more mutual support. Conclusion: Mutual support is a key teamwork characteristic, essential to quality and safety in hospital nursing teams that can be evaluated using social network analysis. Implications for nursing management: Because of a discrepancy regarding receiving and providing help, examining both receiver and provider networks is a superior approach to understanding mutual support.
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© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
- mutual support
- nursing team
- social network