Exploring nurses' online perspectives and social networks during a global pandemic COVID-19



O'Leary L, Erikainen S, Peltonen L, Ahmed W, Thelwall M & O'Connor S (2022) Exploring nurses' online perspectives and social networks during a global pandemic COVID-19. Public Health Nursing, 39 (3), pp. 586-600.

Objectives. Examine the online interactions, social networks, and perspectives of nursing actors on COVID-19 from conversations on Twitter to understand how the profession responded to this global pandemic. Design. Mixed methods. Sample. 10,574 tweets by 2,790 individuals and organisations. Measurements. NodeXL software was used for social network analysis to produce a network visualisation. The betweenness centrality algorithm identified key users who were influential in COVID-19 related conversations on Twitter. Inductive content analysis enabled exploration of tweet content. A communicative figurations framework guided the study. Results. Nursing actors formed different social groupings, and communicated with one another across groups. Tweets covered four themes; 1. outbreak and clinical management of the infectious disease, 2. education and information sharing, 3. social, economic, and political context, and 4. working together and supporting each other. Conclusion. In addition to spreading knowledge, nurses tried to reach out through social media to political and healthcare leadership to advocate for improvements needed to address COVID-19. However, they primarily conversed within their own professional community. Action is needed to better understand how social media is and can be used by nurses for health communication, and to improve their preparedness to be influential on social media beyond the nursing community.

coronavirus; nursing, pandemics, communicable diseases, infectious disease

Public Health Nursing: Volume 39, Issue 3

FundersNewcastle University
Publication date31/05/2022
Publication date online22/10/2021
Date accepted by journal01/10/2021