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Risks and Benefits of Social Networking for Student Nurses

            Social networking is the bringing together of individual people into a group that has a specific purpose (Brown, K. 2004). The more traditional example of this occurs with people coming together in person to meet in a commonplace. However, with the popularity of social media and internet based social networking sites the promotion of a group is exponentially increased, not just domestically but globally. Such dedicated websites include Youtube, Facebook and Twitter. .
             This essay will identify possible risks for a student nurse who is associated with social networking. As social media can often be a distraction to people, the risk this distraction can have in a professional nursing environment will be discussed. Potential risks that can happen as a result of breaching the Privacy Act 1993 will be identified. It will go on to discuss possible opportunities these social networking sites can give to student nurses, how effective Youtube is as a tool for learning, how Facebook can be used as a tool to support a group of student nurses and how Twitter can be used as a tool to stay up to date and informed. The essay will conclude with recommendations and strategies for safe social networking practices for student nurses.
             It is important to note that although the student nurse is not a registered nurse they are still representing this profession and when on a clinical placement come under the same legal and ethical responsibilities as a registered nurse.
             There are many risks associated with social networking for a student nurse. A considerable risk would be one of distraction. If a student nurse has decided to carry her mobile device in her pocket while on a placement and this device is turned on and alerting her to posts or responses from an online social networking group, she is at risk of being distracted by the device and may then be tempted to deviate from her present task to check in and respond.

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