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

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Article number103455
JournalNurse Education in Practice
PublishedOct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors. This work was part of MA PhD project, which was fully sponsored by Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The corresponding author would like to thank Dr Niall McCrae for his guidance, support and feedback at the start of doing this work. Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Authors

King's Authors


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.

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