Understanding the benefits and risks of nursing students engaging with online social media
evidence and practice    

Understanding the benefits and risks of nursing students engaging with online social media

Linda McGrath Lecturer in adult nursing, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England
Amelia Swift Senior lecturer in adult nursing, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England
Maria Clark Lecturer in nursing, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England
Caroline Bradbury-Jones Reader in nursing, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England

Why you should read this article
  • To understand the risks and benefits of nursing students using social media

  • To learn about e-professionalism on social media, and the standards expected of nurses

  • To recognise the role of the educator in supporting nursing students to meet e-professionalism standards on social media

E-professionalism is defined as the competence and values expected of professionals when engaged in online communication, and is a rapidly expanding area of nursing practice. The use of online social media is popular among nursing students, some of whom have created online platforms for peer support and influence. There are significant benefits of using social media for nursing students, such as developing professional networks, engaging in the nursing community, accessing and providing support, and enhancing their knowledge. However, nursing students must be made aware of the potential risks in relation to how they share information and communicate online. These risks include misconduct investigations and could result in exclusion from their studies, resulting in them being unable to join the professional register. Nursing students and educators should be supported to use digital technologies in a way that capitalises on their benefits, while minimising their risks. This article aims to enhance nursing students’ and nurses’ understanding of e-professionalism so that they can use social media effectively for peer support and to enhance patient care.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2019.e11362

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

@LindaMcGrath1

Correspondence

L.P.McGrath@bham.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

McGrath L, Swift A, Clark M et al (2019) Understanding the benefits and risks of nursing students engaging with online social media. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2019.e11362

Published online: 23 September 2019