Social network analysis of a health organization with focus on the social educators with medical competencies role for communication flow
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This thesis aims to identify the role of social educators with medical competence in the communication flow in a health organization. There is a demand for social educators with medical competence in care homes, but few studies have examined their role by using social network analysis (SNA). SNA was used to investigate the relations and centrality within actors in different network structures, focusing on the social educators with medical competence role for communication flow. The areas examined were the following: (a) communication for carrying out daily work tasks, (b) professional communication of knowledge and questions, and (c) communication in crisis situations. These areas were analyzed using the software UCINet. Data collection was done by conducting a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. Data regarding communication with relatives, collaboration with colleagues, challenges, and potential improvement were also obtained. The results indicated that the social educators with medical competence had a central role concerning the communication flow regarding the implementation of daily work tasks and communication of professional conversations and questions. But all the social educators with medical competence in the organization were also employed as care service managers. Whether the centrality is related to their role as social educators with medical competence or care service managers is therefore unknown. In the discussion, it was also discovered that certain behaviors in the organization may have been maintained by social reinforcement and that the organizational structure could impact the actor's centrality and behavior. Further research will be relevant based on a lack of studies of social educators with medical competence and to gain a deeper understanding of their role for the communication flow.