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Exploring nurses’ online perspectives and social networks during a global pandemic COVID‐19

O'Leary, Lisa; Erikainen, Sonja; Peltonen, Laura?Maria; Ahmed, Wasim; Thelwall, Mike; O'Connor, Siobhan


Sonja Erikainen

Laura?Maria Peltonen

Wasim Ahmed

Mike Thelwall

Siobhan O'Connor



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.

Mixed methods.

Ten-thousand five-hundred and seventy-four tweets by 2790 individuals and organizations.

NodeXL software was used for social network analysis to produce a network visualization. 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.

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.

In addition to spreading knowledge, nurses tried to reach out through social media to political and healthcare leaders 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.


O'Leary, L., Erikainen, S., Peltonen, L., Ahmed, W., Thelwall, M., & O'Connor, S. (2022). Exploring nurses’ online perspectives and social networks during a global pandemic COVID‐19. Public Health Nursing, 39(3), 586-600.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 1, 2021
Online Publication Date Oct 22, 2021
Publication Date 2022-06
Deposit Date Nov 3, 2021
Publicly Available Date Nov 3, 2021
Journal Public Health Nursing
Print ISSN 0737-1209
Electronic ISSN 1525-1446
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 39
Issue 3
Pages 586-600
Keywords communicable diseases, coronavirus, COVID-19, infectious disease, nursing, pandemics, social media, Twitter
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Copyright Statement
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

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