A community is commonly defined as a group living together, inferring common ownership, interests and/or background, heritage. (adapted from Merriam-Webster). This would suggest an association of like individuals in one location, which could mean all human beings on earth. Similarly, it could be the ants in the anthill beneath your kid’s swing set. Grouping could also consist of all your alumni, spread around the planet, you get it. What is your teaching community? Your classroom?
My current medical classroom community consists of a group of one, last year was two! Usually one. Intern now resident, trained in Chicago. (Believe it or not. US to Canada!) Brilliant, quick, engaging, good-hearted. The classroom is mobile, clinic to ward, to house call.
We practise (and I say it like that as my student, my graduated physician student, is actually practising) in a group practice of several physicians. So, in essence, my student and myself are a community of two within the larger community of the clinic. The clinic itself is a component of the medical system of our town. We all follow patients at our local hospital, in the next town. Here, we have another grouping, as there are several local clinics. The hospital is a component of the Hamilton academic hospital system. We overlap into Niagara. This can keep going…
Nationwide health policy affects provincial direction, which is passed through the local health integration network administration office. Hospital budgets and operating plans are passed by this authority. Constraints on level of health care offered, for one example among many, affects provision of care in the local hospital: some patients are turned away to higher level centers.
All down the chain, the next link is affected by the one before it, and affects the one after. Perhaps a better metaphor is a set of Russian dolls, one fitting into the next.
In this way, every level of community affects every other level. Angst and uproar in the clinic affects the environment in the examining room, as does Christmas carols playing in the hallway. Beyond basic background, each system within which we work has its own rule set, personalities with which to engage, customs.
Quite the Web, isn’t it? Not just your own little examining room!
Community.(n.d.) Merriam-Webster, m-w.com. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/community