Social Media and It’s Role in Health Care

What is your definition of social media?

I found it to be a difficult task to define exactly what social media is. There are so many different venues that make up what social media is. According to Daniel Nation, n.d., the definition of social media is it is a “social instrument of communication” (Nation, n.d.). I like this definition. I think that it captures just what social media is. Anyone can use social media and there are hundreds of millions of people who do so each day. We use social media when we go to a website such as Facebook or Twitter to communicate with friends. We also are using social media when we go to a site such as to share notes with a colleague or a medical facility’s website for more information.

Social media continues to morph and expand exponentially on a daily basis. It offers us the opportunity to have a conversation with someone we know or with someone we have never met in a foreign country. Social media can also be used to make and share an education presentation with your patient at their convenience. All you need to do is share the link to the presentation with your patient and they can access it prior to seeing you at the next appointment.

How have your thoughts on social media changed since you initially began this course?

The thoughts that I used to have on social media have drastically changed since I began this course. I used to think that the only available social media sites available were Facebook and twitter. I know now that there are many social media sites can be used by nurses and other health care professionals to enhance patient care. I believe that it is amazing a patient can go on-line and perform a search relating to a specific treatment they need or a disease they may have. Your employer or a future employer can also Google you. This could help them to determine whether or not you would be a good fit for the position you have applied for.

Although the numerous social media sites are available for nurses to use, discretion should be used. There are numerous examples readily available of nurses or other health care providers that did not think about their post before they made it public. Once you post something good or bad, it is permanent. Keep in mind that even though you may have your security settings put on friends only for viewing of your posts your friend can copy and / or forward the post to others.

Prior to taking this health informatics course, these were some things that I had not thought about.


How can you use social media in your profession?

As a nurse, social media can be a valuable tool to use. Social media can assist you in improving your practice and care of your patients. There are many sites available for you to use to reach out to others in your profession for their guidance. There are also social media sites provided by different governing bodies (ex- AORN, APIC, CCRN, etc…) that have guidance documents, listservs, and continuing education for nurses.

The key is to use the sites responsibly and interact with others respectfully.


**Please click the icon on the right side of this page for the link to my podcast!




APIC. (2010). Guide to the elimination of orthopedic surgical site infections. Retrieved from

Nations, D. (n.d.). What is social media? What are social media sites? Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2012, July 19). Hospital compare. Retrieved from

Wood, D. (2012, August 16). Social media: Cautionary tales for nurses. Retrieved from



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