Background Online social networks act as a mode of communication that helps to share information and resources and collaborate with peers through engaging in social media based digital dialogues.
Aim To measure the effectiveness of social media and classroom-based end-of-life care education among nursing students.
Methods A mixed methods approach was adopted. A total of 196 first-year undergraduate nursing students of one UK university were invited. 157 students joined Facebook based teaching and 34 students attended classroom-based end-of-life care teaching that delivered similar learning objectives. The Frommelt Attitude Toward Care of the Dying (FATCOD) Scale was completed by a group of nursing students before and after their participation in teaching sessions. Four post-teaching focus groups also conducted with students. Within the group, difference between pre- and post-test were assessed by using paired samples T-tests with use of SPSS V20. Using Nivio10®, a thematic qualitative analysis was undertaken.
Results Although there was no statistical significant difference in the level of attitude between the groups during pre-test, in post-test, there was a significant change in level of attitude for social media intervention group (94% before vs 99% after; p = 0.041) comparing to classroom-based education (84% before vs 81% after; p = 0.107). The mean difference score of Individual FATCOD items before and after education between two groups showed that the social media intervention group showed statistically significant change in student attitudes towards care of dying patients in 10 items. A comparative qualitative analysis revealed five themes: speaking out, lecture at living room, technology lessens interest, emotional teaching, and re-live lesson.
Conclusions Our study explored that using social media in death dying education enhances students’ learning experiences both in emotional as well as knowledge acquisition similar to classroom teaching. However, Facebook teaching provided more flexibility and increased interest yet attained similar learning outcomes.
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