Getting to the top with peer review

Last week Japke-d. Bouma, a Dutch column writer, stated that in order to be happy you don’t always need to go to the top. She got the advice from a wise man saying that the view halfway also brings you happiness  (for Dutch readers here is the column). A feel good phrase putting things in the right perspective I thought. In that same week received the reviewer’s comments of my second paper and I thought, well, maybe I am halfway the mountain….

I like mountain climbing – not the insane or heroic Mount Everest type of climbing – but just walking up the mountain in the area I happen to be in (which is always abroad because in the Netherlands we don’t have mountains). When climbing I always want to go to the top, not to test my condition (this is the mostly disappointing part of the experience) or to act heroic, but because of the view. I really love to have an overview of the area, I want to see it all, not just one side of the mountain, but also the other side. I simply love to stand on a top of a mountain and look around. That is why I need to go to the top. I also like making the effort to get to the top: I once took the elevator on the CN Tower in Toronto and enjoyed the view, but this experience does not stuck in my mind like the mountain climbs I have done.

Back to the review comments. When a paper is finished you think you have reached a top, you’ve read the literature, done the research, (re)written the paper, had it proofread and then you think you’ve seen it all and it’s finished. It took me about a year to finish the paper on social networks. After submitting it to a journal you leave it for a while and by that time you have forgotten you even submitted the paper – 6 months later – the reviewers point out to you that there are other mountains in the area you perhaps may have somewhat overlooked. In the case of this paper on social network analysis one reviewer asked what other social network analysis had been done in hospitals. Good question!! I searched the university library database for in ‘Hospital’ and ‘Social network analysis’ and yes, there have been studies!! There are few – a low mountain perhaps – but they are worth looking at. There are two literature reviews that provide a nice overview of social network analysis done in healthcare:

  1. Benton DC, Pérez-Raya F, Fernández- Fernández, MP, González-Jurado MA. A systematic review of nurse-related social network analysis studies. International Nursing Review, 2015; 62: 321-339.
  2. Chambers D, Wilson P, Thompson C, Harden M, Coiera E. Social Network Analysis in Healthcare Settings: A Systematic Scoping Review. PLoS ONE 2012; 7, e41911. Online this is available here (open access).

In these papers several examples of social network analysis in hospitals are mentioned. Not one is related to the complete logistical system of hospitals, but there are other interesting studies that present findings on how network structure impacts the hospital’s performance. For now, I will continue working on the revision of my paper, because if you want to see it all from the top, you need to get to the bottom and then, up again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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