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education or making referrals to community resources that will allow all patients to get connected, digitally speaking.This surge of patient involvement is also heavily driven by the use of social media (SM) tools (Lee and Whitley, 2014; Prybutok and Ryan, 2015; Tse etal., 2015). Formal and informal online patient networks are plentiful and the use of tools, such as hashtags, provides streamlined opportunities to share experiences, questions, and concerns. Patients are also increasingly using SM as a health information tool (Fernandez-Luque and Bau, 2015), a development that will havesignificant implications for nursing practice. Nurses must have an in-depth understanding of howinformation is aggregated and distributed through SM (Risling, 2016). Current patient education skills related to accessing health information on-line should be expanded to allow for further assessment of patients’ digital literacy skills and networked connections. Future clinicians can collaborate with patients to minimize risk related to erroneous information circulated through SM and connect patients into reliable networks to enhance positive support mechanisms.Patients are not the only ones who can benefit from SM. Nurses should be well versed in the professional benefits of these tools (Risling, 2016), such as the creation of personal learning networks (PLNs) (Farrelly, 2014). Already there are concerns about digital overload and burnout
in relation to our technology driven environments and this is only likely to intensify. PLNs and other tools for filtering internet information can support nurses in retrieving the best evidence and information available. Nursing organizations, healthcare and academic institutions, publishers, non-profits, and a host of other healthcare agencies are already engaged in the use of SM. Although the ongoing importance of these networks remains to be seen, it seems very likely that SM will emerge as significant factor in nursing practice in the coming years.6. Curricular supports for a nursing futureEach of these trends requires a shift in how nursing prepares future generations of practitioners and these are only a few areas where technological change is imminent. However, a technology infused healthcare future does not require a complete transformation of nursing education practices. Nursing has always required competencies that are essential to supporting sound technology based practice such as clinical knowledge and skills, therapeutic communication, patience (van Houwelingen etal., 2016), and foundational critical thinking and problem solving abilities. In their recent research, van Houwelingen etal. (2016)also identified several unique technological competencies that should be demonstrable by nursing graduates today. Many of these skills align with key informatics competencies identified by groups such as TIGER and CASN (2015)and include a basic familiarity with a host of varying digital tools and information formats. The use of computers and smart devices (phones or tablets), electronic