Social Media Use in Nursing Education

Terri L. Schmitt, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, Susan S. Sims-Giddens, EdD, RN, Richard G. Booth, MScN, RN


Online J Issues Nurs. 2012;17(3) 

In This Article

Considerations for Use of Social Media in Education

Teaching Privacy

The use of social media in the classroom assists in conveying professional communication standards. Prior to use, students should complete HIPAA education and be required to read the ANA Social Networking Principles Toolkit (ANA, 2011). Students should also be instructed to intentionally consider the following:

  • everything typed may be publicly accessed

  • who is the audience and who can see each posting

  • whether postings will add to or detract from the profession of nursing and their professional reputation

  • the need to establish professional boundaries even between friends and family

  • at all times to keep patient information private including their assigned work unit and minor information (e.g., patient census or their shift)

  • the need to keep privacy settings reviewed and updated

  • (Schmitt & Lilly, 2012). With careful use and preparation, social media tools can provide exciting new strategies for students and teachers.

Advantages and Disadvantages

As illustrated in the examples above, social media venues offer connectivity and a mechanism for teaching technology, communication management, information management, privacy, ethics, and professionalism. Considering the following advantages and disadvantages can be helpful to determine if, or how, social media tools might enhance in a given nursing course or program.