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Using social media in contemporary nursing: risks and benefits

14 October 2021
10 min read
Volume 30 · Issue 18

Abstract

Social media has become incorporated into the practice of contemporary nursing. It must be acknowledged by the nurse and the nursing profession that social media has the power to enable the nurse to network with colleagues and share research findings through both private and open forums. However, it also has the potential to negatively influence patient care. This article discusses the use of social media and the dilemmas both ethical and legal. It highlights the need for the nurse and the nursing profession to remain vigilant regarding its use within both their personal and professional lives, to ensure that no boundaries are inadvertently crossed.

Contemporary nursing requires nurses to use the best available tools and techniques within their practice to facilitate patients make decisions about their care. Consequently, nurses strive to keep pace with change and stay reliably informed of health issues such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic (Mattiuzzi and Lippi, 2020; Mesko and Gyo˝rffy, 2019; Pizzuti et al, 2020). Social media is a tool that is increasingly being incorporated into nursing care and is defined as an online resource that enables sharing, collaboration, discussion and curation through private or public networks (Hazzam and Lahrech, 2018). The power of social media rests in the scalability and participatory nature, revolutionising patient centred care by democratising knowledge (Mesko and Gyo˝rffy, 2019). This discussion details the risks and benefits that social media presents to nurses, patients, and the health community. A background is provided to explain social media and the application of nursing obligations, and risks will be identified as they relate to legal, political, and social outcomes. Finally, benefits relating to communication, promoting professional nursing, and improving patient outcomes while providing support networks are considered.

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