Social media putting off young people from pursuing careers in nursing: Report

Social media putting off young people from pursuing careers in nursing: Report

Some Gen Zers interested in becoming nurses are being turned off from the profession due to social media, according to a report from nursing marketplace platform ShiftKey.

As part of the report, ShiftKey surveyed 1,000 18- to 26-year-olds who currently work as nurses or considered becoming nurses in the past.

Gen Zers who considered going into nursing but decided not to recall seeing more negative social media content about the profession than those who decided to become nurses, according to the report.

In fact, 50 percent of Gen Zers who decided not to pursue nursing remember seeing negative posts on social media about issues with patients, compared to 44 percent of people who decided to become nurses.

Similarly, 45 percent of young people who were once interested in becoming a nurse and ultimately decided not to recall seeing social media content about how the job can cause mental health issues, compared to 39 percent of Gen Zers who became nurses.

Many potential Gen Z nurses rely on information shared via social platforms including Instagram, TikTok and X for career advice, according to the report.

Shiftkey found that 66 percent of Gen Zers considering becoming nurses use social media for career research, with 16 percent saying the platforms are their most influential source of work information.

Most of the nursing content on social media, particularly TikTok, is negative, the report also found.

As part of the report, ShiftKey analyzed nursing-related content on TikTok between November 2023 and May 2024. Out of the 749,000 nursing-related posts ShiftKey found, 64 percent spoke negatively of the profession.

ShiftKey argues the disparity in content and the algorithm used by TikTok can paint a “skewed and unrealistic” picture of the realities of nursing, which could scare away potential nurses.

In fact, among Gen Zers who once thought about becoming a nurse but didn’t, 78 percent say seeing more positive social media content about the profession could have impacted their decision.

“The influence of social media on Gen Z’s career decisions is undeniable, with 43% of Gen Z who use social media to consider the nursing profession being shocked by the content, 25% being scared, and 23% being confused,” ShiftKey CEO Mike Vitek said in a statement.

The Hill reached out to TikTok for comment on ShiftKey’s report but did not receive a response.

The country is grappling with a shortage of nursing care stemming from an aging population, burnout and shortage of nurses who want to work in hospitals and other health care facilities under current conditions.

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