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The digital side to Nursing

Blogpost 2- Outline for Final Project


Social media’s widespread usage has profoundly transformed the healthcare decision-making landscape. The impact of social media on public health, particularly in areas such as pregnancy, delivery, and parenting, is significant and extensive since platforms like Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, and TikTok have become major providers of knowledge (Powell & Pring, 2024). The advent of digital technology has made information more accessible to a wider audience, but it has also brought forth new difficulties concerning the precision and dependability of health-related information. Social media influencers, in particular, wield considerable influence in shaping parental decision-making, often sharing personal experiences and endorsing products that may lack empirical evidence (Meier, 2020).

Given the increasing reliance on social media for health information, it is imperative to critically examine its impact on healthcare choices. This is especially pertinent in nursing, where professionals often serve as primary providers of knowledge and support for prospective parents. Integrating technology and social media into healthcare environments necessitates a comprehensive strategy to equip nursing staff with the necessary skills to navigate and evaluate online health information effectively (Pretorius, Johnson, & Rew, 2019).

Overview of Social Media Influence on Healthcare Decisions

Social media influencers have a substantial impact on moulding the public’s beliefs and behaviours about health. Due to their significant impact and perceived credibility, they can influence health choices, particularly those on pregnancy and labour. Research has indicated that influencers have the ability to influence the attitudes and behaviours of parents, occasionally promoting products or behaviours that lack empirical evidence (Yap & Lim, 2023). This occurrence gives rise to concerns over the possibility of spreading false information and emphasizes the importance for healthcare personnel to actively participate in and comprehend the social media environment.

Influencers can provide a variety of material, including personal birth experiences, advice on prenatal care, product evaluations, and endorsements of birth plans or parenting approaches. The wide range of information available can serve as both a valuable tool and a cause of uncertainty for parents-to-be. Hence, it is imperative to assess the credibility of the information and devise techniques to assist parents in making well-informed choices (Powell & Pring, 2024).

Research Question and Objectives

Research Question:

How can nursing education programs integrate digital literacy and critical media analysis skills into the curriculum to empower nursing students to navigate and evaluate online health information, particularly in the context of childbirth and parenting?

Research Objectives:

  • Identify Key Digital Literacy and Critical Media Analysis Skills: Determine the essential digital literacy and critical media analysis skills that nursing students need to effectively navigate and evaluate online health information related to childbirth and parenting.
  • Assess Current Curriculum Content: Evaluate existing nursing education curricula to identify gaps in digital literacy and critical media analysis training, specifically regarding the evaluation of online health information.
  • Develop Educational Modules: Create educational modules and resources focused on digital literacy and critical media analysis skills, tailored to the context of childbirth and parenting information on social media.
  • Evaluate Impact on Students’ Competency: Measure the impact of the integrated digital literacy and critical media analysis training on nursing students’ competencies in assessing the credibility and reliability of online health information.

Literature Review

Technology-enhanced learning (TEL) and digital learning environments are reshaping educational practices across various fields, including healthcare. TEL integrates digital tools and platforms to facilitate interactive and flexible learning experiences, thereby enhancing knowledge acquisition and retention (Garrison, 2016). Online learning environments, such as virtual classrooms and e-learning modules, offer personalized and accessible educational opportunities, which are crucial in professional fields like nursing, where continuous education is imperative (Namyssova et al., 2018). However, the integration of these technologies must be accompanied by robust strategies to ensure their effective use and alignment with educational goals (Bates, 2015).

Technology-enhanced learning (TEL) and digital learning environments are integral to modern education, particularly in healthcare. TEL incorporates digital tools and platforms to create interactive and flexible learning experiences essential for continuous professional development in fields like nursing (Garrison, 2016). These environments include virtual classrooms and e-learning modules, which provide personalized and accessible educational opportunities that enhance knowledge acquisition and retention (Namyssova et al., 2018). For maximum effectiveness, it is crucial to align these technologies with educational goals (Bates, 2015).

The Role of Social Media in Healthcare Decision-Making

Social media platforms have become significant sources of health information and support, especially for expectant parents. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube enable users to share personal health experiences, disseminate health advice, and offer peer support (Ventola, 2014). This democratization of health information allows access to a wide range of perspectives and experiences, though it raises concerns about the quality and reliability of the shared information, as not all content is evidence-based or accurate (Moorhead et al., 2013).

Analysis of Social Media Influencers’ Impact on Parental Decisions Regarding Birth Preparedness

Social media influencers, who often have large followings, play a significant role in shaping parental decisions regarding birth preparedness. Influencers share personal stories, product recommendations, and advice, which can significantly impact expectant parents’ choices and behaviours (Powell & Pring, 2024). While influencers can provide valuable insights and support, there is a risk that they may spread misinformation or endorse practices lacking scientific support. Studies have shown that the information shared by influencers is not always aligned with best medical practices, which can lead to potential health risks (Yap & Lim, 2023).

Theoretical Framework

The theoretical framework I would be using for this research is the intersection of Technology, Social Media, and Nursing Practice Framework. Integrating technology and social media into nursing practice offers both opportunities and challenges. Nursing professionals must possess not only clinical skills but also digital literacy and critical media analysis capabilities. This integration allows nurses to engage with patients through modern communication channels, enhancing patient education and support (Duke et al., 2017). However, it also requires nurses to navigate the complexities of online health information critically, ensuring that they provide accurate and evidence-based advice (Lupton, 2014).

Social and Ethical Considerations in Digital Learning and Healthcare Environments

Incorporating digital learning and social media into healthcare education and practice brings forth various social and ethical considerations. These include issues of information privacy, the digital divide, and the ethical implications of using online platforms for health communication (Beauchamp, 2011). Educators and healthcare providers must address these challenges by promoting the ethical use of digital tools and ensuring equitable access to digital learning resources (Lupton, 2014).


Research Design and Methods

This study will employ a qualitative research design, using in-depth interviews to gather comprehensive data on the influence of social media influencers on parental decision-making regarding birth preparedness. Qualitative methods are particularly suitable for exploring complex phenomena and gaining deeper insights into participants’ experiences, perceptions, and motivations (Creswell & Poth, 2018).

Data Collection and Analysis Procedures

Data collection will involve semi-structured interviews with expectant parents who actively engage with social media content related to pregnancy and childbirth. The interviews will explore participants’ interactions with social media influencers, the types of information they find persuasive, and how this information impacts their birth preparedness decisions. Thematic analysis will be used to analyse the qualitative data, identifying key themes and patterns that emerge from the participants’ narratives (Braun & Clarke, 2006).

Findings and Discussion

Preliminary findings indicate that social media influencers significantly shape parental perceptions and decisions regarding birth preparedness. Many parents reported relying on influencers for advice on birth plans, prenatal care, and postpartum practices. The influence of these figures often extends to product choices and healthcare services, highlighting their substantial role in the decision-making process (Pretorius et al., 2019).

The study also reveals concerns about the accuracy and reliability of the information disseminated by social media influencers. While some influencers provide evidence-based and reliable content, others may spread myths, misconceptions, or unsupported health practices. This underscores the need for critical evaluation skills among parents and healthcare professionals to discern credible information from potentially harmful advice (Yap & Lim, 2023)


Bates, A. W. (2015). Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning. BCcampus.

Beauchamp, T. L. (2011). Informed consent: its history, meaning, and present challenges. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics20(4), 515-523.

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative research in psychology3(2), 77-101.

Creswell, J. W., & Poth, C. N. (2016). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Sage publications.

Duke, V. J., Anstey, A., Carter, S., Gosse, N., Hutchens, K. M., & Marsh, J. A. (2017). Social media in nurse education: Utilization and E-professionalism. Nurse Education Today57, 8-13.

Garrison, D. R. (2016). E-learning in the 21st century: A community of inquiry framework for research and practice. Routledge

Lupton, D. (2014). Digital sociology. Routledge.

Meier, S. (2020). Reproductive Health Decision-Making: Extending the Shared Decision-Making Model into the Community (Doctoral dissertation, Purdue University).

Moorhead, S. A., Hazlett, D. E., Harrison, L., Carroll, J. K., Irwin, A., & Hoving, C. (2013). A new dimension of health care: systematic review of the uses, benefits, and limitations of social media for health communication. Journal of medical Internet research15(4), e1933.

Namyssova, G., Tussupbekova, G., Helmer, J., Malone, K., Mir, A., & Jonbekova, D. (2019). Challenges and benefits of blended learning in higher education.

Oliveira, M., Marta, G., Solla, D., Teixeira, M., Figueiredo, E., Nieder, C. & Kosaka, T. (2020). Mortality, morbidity, and prognostic factors in the surgical resection of brain metastases: a contemporary cohort study. Journal of Neurological Surgery Part A: Central European Neurosurgery, 81(04), 279-289.

Powell, J., & Pring, T. (2024). The impact of social media influencers on health outcomes: Systematic review. Social Science & Medicine, 340, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2023.116472

Pretorius, K., Johnson, K. E., & Rew, L. (2019). An integrative review: understanding parental use of social media to influence infant and child health. Maternal and child health journal, 23, 1360-1370.

Ventola, C. L. (2014). Social media and health care professionals: benefits, risks, and best practices. Pharmacy and therapeutics39(7), 491.

Yap, S. F., & Lim, W. M. (2023). A paradox theory of social media consumption and child well being. Australasian Marketing Journal, 14413582221139492.

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  2. Sarah Hauzeneder May 30, 2024

    Hi Ann,
    Thank you for your blog post. Naturally, I was drawn to it because of its nursing context, but I also recall being a new mom and seeing the threads on Facebook around various topics relating to childbearing. As a healthcare professional, I stayed away from commenting on these posts, which was quite morally distressing when I would read things that were completely incorrect. I think this is such a relevant topic, with the surge in time spent online and the ability to find any information you need – incorrect or not. I think nursing programs need to address this by including training on evaluating the credibility and reliability of online sources, particularly those related to childbirth and parenting, to ensure that students can discern accurate information from misinformation (Tischendorf et al., 2024). Programs should also emphasize the development of digital competencies, including data literacy, communication, content creation, safety, and problem-solving. Additionally, incorporating practical exercises and case studies that simulate real-life scenarios can help students apply these skills in a controlled environment, enhancing their ability to navigate digital health information effectively (Bäckström et al., 2022). Finally, fostering a culture of continuous learning and critical reflection on digital media use can empower nursing students to stay updated with evolving digital tools and resources. I look forward to seeing more of your work on this topic!


    Bäckström, C., Carlén, K., Larsson, V., Mårtensson, L., Thorstensson, S., Berglund, M., Larsson, T., Bouwmeester, B., Wilhsson, M., & Larsson, M. (2022). Expecting parents’ use of digital sources in preparation for parenthood in a digitalised society – a systematic review. DIGITAL HEALTH, 8, 205520762210903. https://doi.org/10.1177/20552076221090335

    Tischendorf, T., Heitmann-Möller, A., Ruppert, S.-N., Marchwacka, M., Schaffrin, S., Schaal, T., & Hasseler, M. (2024). Sustainable integration of digitalisation in nursing education—an international scoping review. Frontiers in Health Services, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/frhs.2024.1344021

    • aadegoroye June 9, 2024 — Post author

      Hi Sarah,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and personal experiences. It’s indeed concerning to witness the spread of misinformation on social media, especially regarding critical topics like childbirth and parenting. Your insights highlight the pressing need for nursing programs to equip students with the skills necessary to navigate and evaluate online health information effectively.

      Your suggestions for nursing education programs are spot-on. Incorporating training on evaluating the credibility and reliability of online sources, along with emphasizing the development of digital competencies, is essential in preparing nursing students to discern accurate information from misinformation. Practical exercises and case studies that simulate real-life scenarios can provide invaluable hands-on experience for students, allowing them to apply these skills in a controlled environment.

      Also, fostering a culture of continuous learning and critical reflection on digital media use is crucial in empowering nursing students to stay updated with evolving digital tools and resources. By integrating these strategies into nursing curricula, programs can better prepare future nurses to navigate the complexities of digital health information and contribute to improved patient care outcomes.

      Thank you for sharing your insights, and I look forward to further discussions on this important topic.


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