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Tweet if you want to be sustainable: a thematic analysis of a Twitter chat to discuss sustainability in nurse education.

AIM: To explore the concept of sustainability in nursing using social media as a vehicle for discussion on the topic.

BACKGROUND: There is a need for an increased awareness among nurses of the issues that are crucial for the healthcare sector to prepare for climate change and contribute to sustainable development. However, topics about sustainability and climate change are not a requirement of nursing curricula in Europe; social media provides an opportunity to raise issues and promote discussion.

DESIGN: A thematic analysis of a Twitter discussion.

METHODS: A Twitter discussion session hosted by @WeNurses took place on 24 March 2015 over 1 hour. Data were gathered via this online discussion hosted on Twitter, a social media platform. Following the discussion a thematic analysis of the posted Tweets was conducted.

FINDINGS: One hundred and nineteen people posted nine hundred and ninety six Tweets, a reach of 3,306,368. Tweets broadly followed the questions posted by the team. Several threads related to the sustainable use of healthcare resources and the need to reduce waste was evident. A Word Cloud of the Tweets highlighted prominent words in the discussion: sustainability, nursing/nurses, curriculum, important, waste, practice, resources, student, plastic, health, gloves.

CONCLUSION: Social media is an effective way of engaging nurses and students in a discussion on challenging issues. Sustainability appears to be important for nurses, with a particular emphasis on resource use and the importance of sustainability topics in nurse education.

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