The value of social media use in improving nursing students’ engagement: A systematic review

Malak Almutairi*, Alan Simpson, Ehsan Khan, Tommy Dickinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: This systematic review was undertaken to investigate the impact of social media use in relation to student engagement in nursing education. Background: The availability of social media has transformed global connectivity within education systems. Social media has been used in various educational contexts. The widespread use of social media has prompted a demand for a better understanding of how it might be used in nursing education. While research has previously explored the positive effects of using social media on a range of learning outcomes in nursing education, studies have not specifically focused on how these positive features have an impact on students’ engagement as a vital component of successful learning. Design: This review uses the Joanna Briggs Institute approach to conducting systematic reviews and follows Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines for reporting a systematic review. Methods: Following predefined inclusion criteria, a search of electronic databases was performed using a three-step strategy to identify relevant studies. The following databases were searched: Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Education Resources Information Centre (ERIC), MEDLINE and PubMed. A further manual search was performed to identify potentially relevant articles. The included studies were assessed for methodological quality by all reviewers using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. NVivo software was used for organising data and developing themes. Results: Data from sixteen studies with different designs were extracted and thematically synthesised. The synthesised findings yielded five themes: 1) interaction and communication; 2) managing stress; 3) positive online community; 4) time spent; and 5) digital literacy and e-professionalism. Conclusions: This review reveals that using social media to support nursing students’ learning has positive benefits in terms of promoting several aspects of their engagement, such as rapid interaction and communication. Further empirical studies, however, should aim to measure social media's effects on nursing students’ engagement with their courses and their academic attainment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103455
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Engagement
  • Nursing education
  • Social media
  • Systematic review


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