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Relevance of social media to nurses and healthcare: ‘to tweet or not to tweet’
  1. Kirsten Huby,
  2. Joanna Smith
  1. School of Healthcare, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  1. Correspondence to : Dr Joanna Smith,
    School of Healthcare, University of Leeds, Baines Wing, Leeds LS2 9UT, UK; j.e.smith1{at}

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EBN engages readers through a range of online social media activities to debate issues important to nurses and nursing. EBN Opinion papers highlight and expand on these debates.


Online social media tools and platforms such as Facebook, MySpace, Tumblr, Blogger and Twitter are increasingly being used by nurses and health professionals for professional development, to share health information to global communities and as a way of providing personalised care to individual patients.1 Twitter is probably the most recognised of the online microblogging platforms, launched in 2006 ( now has ∼310 million monthly active users ( Over the past 10 years, Twitter has been used in many different ways by individuals, professional bodies and organisations, and there is a developing evidence base supporting the use of Twitter professionally.2 ,3 The potential value and opportunities for using social media tools and platforms in healthcare has resulted in guidelines and policies on how to use social media professionally beginning to emerge.3 ,4 Although for many nurses the use of social media is part of everyday life, with individuals choosing how to engage with online tools and platforms, and use and share information, there can be challenges to ensure that personal and professional boundaries are not blurred. For others, the value and connectivity of the social world lacks relevance and therefore many health professionals remain sceptical about the usefulness of …

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  • Twitter Follow Joanna Smith at @josmith175

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.