International perspectives on social media guidance for nurses: a content analysis

Ryan, Gemma Sinead (2015). International perspectives on social media guidance for nurses: a content analysis. In: RCN International Nursing Research Conference 2015, 20-22 Apr 2015, Nottingham, UK.


Social media is increasingly popular in the nursing profession but there are also concerns associated with their use. There is a range of guidelines available within the UK from RCN (2009) and NMC (2012) but also good examples from an international perspective (New Zealand Nurses Organisation (2012)).
AIM: This project aimed to analyse the content in professional guidance on social media for the nursing profession on an international level; to consolidate 'good practice' examples of social media guidelines and inform the development of comprehensive guidance.
METHOD: A scoping search of professional nursing bodies and organisations was run using google search and cross referenced with the International Council of Nurses and NMC lists of nursing organisations internationally. Those not published in English were not included.
A quantitative and qualitative content analysis was undertaken to identify common themes and key differences between guidance. This was consolidated into a list of recommendations of what to include in comprehensive social media guidance for nurses.
RESULTS: A total of 34 pieces of guidance were found of which 14 were not available in English and a further 7 organisations did not have guidance available. All pieces of evidence were published between 2009-2013. Content varied widely as did the length and methods of delivery e.g. some used case studies, others just bullet point lists of do’s and don’ts. Most focused on the risks and dangers of social media but others included positives and benefits of using social media as a professional.
CONCLUSION: A comprehensive list of recommendations for content of social media guidelines for the nursing profession has been developed based on the content analysis conducted. This has identified ways in which UK published guidance could be improved but also can inform other organisations in the development of guidance on the use of social media by professionals.

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