Introduction: Graphical analysis of networking maps can be used to measure the health, connectivity, and vulnerabilities of a professional community. We aimed to capture and map the connections and relationships between individuals and organizations in the healthcare simulation community of the state of Western Australia. It was also intended that this analysis would encourage new opportunities for collaboration to advance simulation-based education.
Methods: In association with a baseline list of established simulation practitioners, an online survey instrument and propriety mapping software were used to establish links and interactions between individuals, colleagues, their own, and external organizations.
Results: There were 79 respondents to the survey, with 500 pairs of relationships generated for 203 nominated personnel. Two thirds of respondents were from medical, nursing, and allied health fields. The average number of collaborators for each respondent was 6.6. Collaborative patterns were presented in matrices and social network maps. These data identified leaders, important networks, and weaknesses in this community of practice.
Conclusions: The study confirmed that there were a handful of simulation educators with many linkages both within and external to their own organizations. In addition, isolated groups with poor cross-organizational associations were identified. This information can be used by healthcare and educational organizations, and funding agencies, to better understand associations and collaborations across the wider simulation community and to consider appropriate improvements to strengthen the simulation network.