Nursing students' engagement with social media as an extracurricular activity: An integrative review

Muna Alharbi, Lisa Kuhn, Julia Morphet

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To explore primary research evidence reporting the reason for undergraduate nursing students' engagement with social media as an extracurricular activity. Background: The formal integration of social media into nursing education has been discussed extensively in previous research. The influence of social media on nursing students' learning and class engagement has also been explored. However, despite the growing volume of literature examining the formal use of social media by undergraduate nursing students, a broader perspective on how and why nursing students engage with social media as an extracurricular activity has not yet been explored. Design: An integrative review. Methods: A systematic search was performed to find articles published between 2007–2019 using Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, Ovid Emcare and CINAHL Plus databases and the Google Scholar search engine. The review process is reported according to PRISMA. Results: Twelve papers met the inclusion criteria, revealing that undergraduate nursing students engaged with social media for many reasons external to their formal curricula. They engaged with social media to keep in touch with others and to entertain themselves, promote learning, find social support, develop a professional nursing identity, share their experiences as nursing students and locate job opportunities. Conclusion: Undergraduate nursing students engaged with social media for numerous reasons. It supported students in their academic and personal lives by keeping them in touch with people around them. The students used social media to identify with the nursing profession; however, its influence on their professional identity development is yet to be fully explored. Relevance to clinical practice: Nursing schools should consider the myriad of reasons students engage with social media in order to optimise their professional development. Understanding how nursing students' professional identity develops via social media may be used to help sustain nursing students and support their transition into practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-55
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • engagement
  • integrative review
  • social media
  • undergraduate nursing students

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