A Correlation study of social network usage among health care students

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Background: Due to anecdotal concerns about adequacy of health professions students’ communication skills, health professions faculty at a private university formed an interprofessional research team. The study was designed to explore whether the use of social networking services (SNS) influenced health care students’ written and oral communication skills. Method: One hundred thirtytwo students participated in the study. Communication skills were assessed by using assignments from a health care ethics course required of all students. Use of SNS was measured with an information technology questionnaire. Results: Contrary to expected findings, this exploratory correlation study found no meaningful relationship between the frequency of SNS usage and oral and written communication skills in health professions students. Conclusions: Future studies of SNS would benefit from a younger and more homogeneous study population to assess the use of SNS for learning versus leisure.

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