Vol. 27 No. 2 (2013)
Research Articles

Facebook and Issues of Professionalism in Undergraduate Nursing Education: Risky Business or Risk Worth Taking?

Laura Anne Killam
Cambrian College
Lorraine Mary Carter
Lorraine Carter, PhD Director, School of Nursing Director, Centre for Flexible Teaching and Learning Nipissing University lorrainec@nipissingu.ca 705-474-3450, ext. 4602
Rob Graham
Nipissing University Schulich School of Education ITeach Laptop Learning 100 College Drive North Bay, ON P1B 8L7 telephone (705) 474 3450 ext 4404 Office H-145

Published 2014-01-23


  • Facebook,
  • social media,
  • education,
  • online learning,
  • e-learning,
  • educational technology,
  • ...More

How to Cite

Killam, L. A., Carter, L. M., & Graham, R. (2014). Facebook and Issues of Professionalism in Undergraduate Nursing Education: Risky Business or Risk Worth Taking?. International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education Revue Internationale Du E-Learning Et La Formation à Distance, 27(2). Retrieved from https://ijede.ca/index.php/jde/article/view/849


The purpose of this exploratory investigation was to share the strengths, challenges, and tensions of using Facebook in an undergraduate nursing program. The observations presented have emerged from information shared by study participants and the professional insights of the three researcher-authors who represent perspectives from nursing, education, and technology-enabled teaching and learning. The theoretical framework used to guide the study was Drexler's (2010) Networked Student as well as ideas based on work by Siemens (2010) and Downes (2012). Findings suggest that use of Facebook in professional programs such as nursing provides an opportunity for the modeling of professional behaviour by students and teachers. However, concerns about privacy, misinformation, and a lack of professionalism are also present in the discussions of Facebook in professional programs. As a learning strategy, Facebook is recommended when pedagogical benefits are anticipated and clear and transparent guidelines regarding its use have been established by the user group. It is respectfully acknowledged that there are many social media options available to students and teachers to support learning in a professional program. Facebook, however, was the focus of this study given its unique prevalence among university students at the present time. The paper is a first step in looking at how Facebook and other social media experiences may play a role in supporting learning in professional programs offered by universities.


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