Friday April 18th 2014

New articles on social media and communication technology in health care

Social media may not have started in health care, but it is here to stay, ” notes Robert Fraser, MN, RN, who introduces five new articles in the upcoming OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. The Sept. 30 topic, Social Media and Communication Technology: New “Friends” in Healthcare, brings some existing research and expertise to light on the emerging presence of social media in health care. The authors provide an important contrast of perspectives, giving nurses insight into both risks and benefits of social media.

Nancy Spector, PhD, RN, and Dawn Kappel, MA, in Guidelines for Using Electronic and Social Media: The Regulatory Perspective, introduce the importance of understanding the impact of social media on professional practice. The article provides illustrative case studies to discuss challenges nurses and health care facilities face. The article includes useful recommendations for employers and educators for guidelines on the use of social media.

Social Media Use in Nursing Education, by Terri L. Schmitt, PhD, RN, FNP-BC; Susan S. Sims-Giddens, EdD, RN; and Richard G. Booth, MScN, RN, offers key insights into trends that are driving a shifting nursing pedagogy, as well as practical examples of how this is happening. Their review summarizes literature on potential benefits, and discusses best practices and studies that explore efficacy or value of social media and digital tools in nursing education.

Betsy Weaver, EdD, Bill Lindsay and Betsy Gitelman share what they have learned in the trenches and why nurses are and will be critical to the implementation of digital tools in health care. In Communication Technology and Social Media: Opportunities and Implications for Healthcare Systems, the authors outline the significant potential for impacting modifiable health behaviors, improving patient-provider communication and improving efficiency and reach of communication.

In Health Tweets: An Exploration of Health Promotion on Twitter, Lorie Donelle, PhD, RN, and Richard Booth, MScN, RN, discuss their research about how Twitter is being used in the context of health. Using the Determinants of Health framework from the Public Health Agency of Canada, the authors analyzed 2,400 public messages (tweets). Along with discussion of emerging themes, study tweets offer helpful examples to illustrate how Twitter is a part of social media in health care.

Advancing Nursing Practice Through Social Media: A Global Perspective by Jean Barry, MSc, RN, and Nicholas R. Hardiker, PhD, RN, reminds us that nursing is an international profession advancing the way we share knowledge globally. The authors discuss the significant growth in the use of technology, and the global impact of social media on health equity and access.

Access these articles and more at

Related ANA member resources: social media

The American Nurses Association (ANA) has published Principles for Social Networking and the Nurse: Guidance for the Registered Nurse, a resource to guide nurses and nursing students in how they maintain professional standards in new media environments. See also the Social Networking Toolkit, including a webinar, fact sheet, tip card and poster, at

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