Interpersonal communication, empathy, and stress perceived by nursing students who use social networks.

Research paper by Lorena L Gutiérrez-Puertas, Verónica V VV Márquez-Hernández, Vanesa V Gutiérrez-Puertas, Genoveva G Granados-Gámez, Gabriel G Aguilera-Manrique

Indexed on: 19 Aug '20Published on: 18 Aug '20Published in: Journal of Advanced Nursing


The objective of this study was to explore interpersonal communication, empathy, and stress perceived by nursing students who use social networks. A cross-sectional study was performed. A convenience sample of 135 nursing students. For data collection, the following instruments were used: The WhatsApp Negative Impact Scale, The Perceived Stress Scale, The Interpersonal Communication Competence Inventory, and the Jefferson Scale of Empathy. Data collection took place in February 2020. A negative correlation was found between the WhatsApp Negative Impact and the Jefferson Scale of Empathy (rs = -0.204; p = .019). Conversely, a positive correlation was also observed between the Interpersonal Communication Competence Inventory and the Jefferson Scale of Empathy (rs = 0.212; p = .014). Nursing students' use of new technology could be problematic and interfere with their therapeutic communication skills. This study addresses the problem of social network use in the clinical setting and how this can influence nursing students' therapeutic communication skills with patients. The results of this study have showed that, among nursing students, social network use has a negative impact, showing decreased empathy. Likewise, students who show a greater level of empathy have better interpersonal communication skills. However, significant results were not found between psychological distress and problematic social network use. Therefore, it is necessary to perform additional studies that would further explore this aspect. This study allows us to explore the negative impact of social networks on therapeutic communication, with the aim of developing prevention strategies at university institutions. © 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.