The influence of social media (SM) is continuing to expand at a rapid rate and on a global scale. SM tools have become a predominate feature of the Web 2.0 environment. These networked communication platforms allow people to not only consume information but also to create and collaborate on content delivery (Kung and Oh 2014). Popular SM tools include social networking sites (e.g., Facebook™), blogs, microblogs (e.g., Twitter™), video-sharing services (e.g., YouTube™) and other professionally focused platforms (e.g., LinkedIn™) (Henderson and Dahnke 2015; Kung and Oh 2014). No longer dismissible as a passing trend, SM tools are being used in both personal and professional endeavors across most if not all disciplines. Healthcare professions have taken up the use of SM, albeit at a slower pace than in other disciplines. This cautious adaptation may reflect the ethical burden of privacy and other professional conduct standards healthcare practitioners are obliged to meet including potential institutional restrictions. Despite these challenges, SM has an expanding presence in healthcare, including nursing, and there is an opportunity to maximize the use and reach of these tools through nursing leadership. In this paper, the author offers an introductory SM overview including usage patterns in Canada and available healthcare use statistics. A focused discussion of relevant SM nursing literature supports recommendations for successfully integrating SM into a professional repertoire and in directing staff in the most effective adaptation of these tools. The author concludes with a call for nurse leaders in Canada to consider the need for a national SM hashtag (#), or series of hashtags, that could be utilized to unify and extend professional messaging for registered nurses (RNs).
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