Exploring Nurses’ Online Perspectives and Social Networks During a Global Pandemic COVID-19

Lisa O’Leary, Sonja Erikainen, Laura-Maria Peltonen, Siobhán O'Connor, Wasim Ahmed, Mike Thelwall* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Objectives. Examine the online interactions, social networks, and perspectives of nursing actors on COVID-19 from conversations on Twitter to understand how the profession responded to this global pandemic. Design. Mixed methods.Sample. 10,574 tweets by 2,790 individuals and organisations. Measurements. NodeXL software was used for social network analysis to produce a network visualisation. The betweenness centrality algorithm identified key users who were influential in COVID-19 related conversations on Twitter. Inductive content analysis enabled exploration of tweet content. A communicative figurations framework guided the study.Results. Nursing actors formed different social groupings, and communicated with one another across groups. Tweets covered four themes; 1. outbreak and clinical management of the infectious disease, 2. education and information sharing, 3. social, economic, and political context, and 4. working together and supporting each other.Conclusion. In addition to spreading knowledge, nurses tried to reach out through social media to political and healthcare leadership to advocate for improvements needed to address COVID-19. However, they primarily conversed within their own professional community. Action is needed to better understand how social media is and can be used by nurses for health communication, and to improve their preparedness to be influential on social media beyond the nursing community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-600
Number of pages15
JournalPublic Health Nursing
Issue number3
Early online date10 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

We would like to dedicate this study to nurses everywhere who are helping tackle the coronavirus pandemic, particularly those who have lost their lives from this infectious disease.


  • coronavirus
  • nursing
  • pandemics
  • communicable diseases
  • infectious disease
  • social media
  • Twitter
  • COVID-19


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