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Social media standards still unknown to many new staff

Most new nurses and midwives know when they shouldn’t use social media in their profession, but many aren’t aware of the professional standards surrounding its use.

Research from the University of Queensland has analysed the use of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram among recent nursing and midwifery graduates in Australia and New Zealand.

Dr Anthony Tuckett, from the university’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, said 97 per cent of respondents accepted that there are purposes for which social media ought not be used in their profession.

“They provided almost 100 situations they would avoid where they felt usage was unprofessional, malevolent, illegal or unethical,” Tuckett said. Yet only 72 per cent of nurses and midwives said they were aware of the professional standards governing use in their country of registration.

Tuckett said given the high level of social media use among nurses and midwives, it was important to raise the level of awareness of these standards. The report recommended that work by the respective professions at both an undergraduate and graduate level include a focus on the implications of social media use for policy and practice.

The research also revealed which sites respondents used. Facebook was the most popular, with 97 per cent of survey subjects indicating they used the platform. This was followed by 46 per cent for YouTube, 42 per cent for Pinterest and 36 per cent for Instagram.

LinkedIn and Twitter were less popular. “I found the low usage of LinkedIn (8 per cent) and Twitter (5 per cent) somewhat remarkable, given they are platforms that can be used to contact fellow professionals and market expertise,” Tuckett said. “Our results suggest that for these young healthcare professionals, the utility of social media might not have been explained or reinforced in a professional development context.”

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