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


  • Nursing programs may not be providing enough technological training to adequately meet student needs, desires, or the TIGER competencies (McDowell & Xiping, 2007).

  • Barriers may restrict the use of or enthusiasm for incorporating social media tools. Examples of barriers include lack of knowledge in technology use; fear; cost; time; the rapid nature of technology change; multiple demands and outside distractions; an unwillingness by faculty or students to engage in social media use; restrictive organizational policies; and reprimand or ostracism for misuse or mistakes within social media (Schmitt & Lilly, in press).

  • Social media use poses a real risk to patient and student privacy, with a larger reach and documentable evidence (NCSBN, 2011). However, many infractions are not intentional and could be overcome with clear education for both students and faculty prior to use, creating practice environments where mistakes can safely be made just as is done in physical clinical environments, and faculty development of know-how and education mechanisms for sound use of social media.