The self-selected use of social media for the pre-registration student nurse journey: An interpretative phenomenological analysis

Melanie Hayward


Objective: To explore the lived experience of the phenomenon of self-selected social media use through the viewpoint of UK pre-registered student nurses in relation to their studies.

Methods: Seven UK pre-registration student nurses who used social media in relation to their nursing studies were interviewed during February and March 2020. Semi-structured interviews were transcribed and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Results: Four themes indicated that students used social media to discover, create and control their ‘own space’ for personal and professional benefit, through a ‘whole new world’ of social connections, ‘opening doors’ for learning and development to support themselves and each other on their ‘journey to be nurses’. The analysis also revealed an inherent journey of self-discovery affording self-empowerment and resilience, the significance of which was dependent on each participant’s characteristics and experiences.

Conclusions: Social media use may have the potential to assist student nurse decisions related to, enhance the experience of, and engagement in, their education. As an international phenomenon, social media could be considered as an agent to improve student nurse retention and facilitate recruitment. Future research is recommended to explore the use of social media in this way as well as the challenges to its use.


Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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