Guest blog: Closing A Community of Practice

At first thought I wondered if it was me; had I not done it ‘right’.  Should I have done more?

I took the bold step to set up a Community of Practice around Schwartz Rounds.  Knowing that there was growing interest in the region around the application of Schwartz Rounds I felt confident that a COP would be really beneficial to enrich conversations and create action.

More than six months down the line and the CoP is closed/moth-balled. It was not an easy decision to reach.

It wasn’t for lack of trying to make the CoP work.  There were a few original group members in the initial creation stages and there seemed to be some energy around the community.

Throughout this entire journey I have learned a lot and have had some very enriching, challenging and creative conversations with fellow facilitators that have really opened my eyes to wider work going on across the region.  I realised during one of the webinars as we talked about the challenges in getting the CoP flourishing that the CoP didn’t have a clear purpose to connect community members and as one colleague on the webinar suggested ‘perhaps Schwartz rounds are the answer to the problem’.

I reflected many times on this statement in trying to make sense of what it was that the CoP was missing in order to make it successful.

I was feeling tired, a bit deflated and unsure of where to go from here.

Knowing from earlier conversations in the setting up stages that we had talked about the lifespan of CoPs and that not all would continue indefinitely I edged nearer to the perception that this COP is not needed.

After talking to Jane about it and being connected with another CoP facilitator who was also in a very similar position I felt reassured that this wasn’t a personal failure.  I could see the richness of the journey the CoP had made and my personal journey along with it.  Great connections have been made and in a connected system those can never be underestimated.

I’ve been supported all the way along and encouraged to question my experiences at every step.


Image via Creative Commons


  1. Angela Green

    Thank you Zoe for bravely sharing your experience on your journey. This will be useful to all facilitators.
    Facilitation of a CoP is very challenging especially in today’s environment and it isn’t always easy to discover that shared domain which will spark the passion and energy to get a CoP going.
    Maybe as a result of your learning on this journey, you will now be able to recognize a future potential community or a potential future facilitator to of a CoP in a different area? Your knowledge and experience will be of great support to others.
    Warmest, Angela.