Healthcare (Basel) 10 (7) - [2022-07-05; online 2022-07-05]
There is a knowledge gap about nurses' use of social media in relation to and during the COVID-19 pandemic, which demands the upholding of a physical distance to other people, including patients and their relatives. The study aims to explore how nurses in the Scandinavian countries used social media for professional purposes in relation to the first 15 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualitative, semi-structured interviews with 30 nurses in three Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden) were conducted. Thematic analyses were made, methodically inspired by Braun and Clarke, and theoretically inspired by Berger and Luckmann's theory about the construction of social reality. The Standards for Reporting Qualitative Research (SRQR) checklist was used. The results showed that social media was a socialisation tool for establishing new routines in clinical practice. Virtual meeting places supported collective understandings of a specific COVID-19 'reality' and 'knowledge' amongst nurses, with the pandemic bringing to the fore the issue of e-professionalism among nurses relating to their clinical practice. However, social media and virtual education were not commonly used in patient contacts. Further, nurses attempted a re-socialisation of the public to proper COVID-19 behaviour through social media. Moreover, blurred boundaries between acting as a private individual and a professional nurse were identified, where ethics of the nursing profession extended to nurses' private lives.