INTRODUCTION: This study was conducted with the aim of determining the degree and type of use of electronic social networks and the relationship to emotional intelligence among nursing students.
METHODS: This descriptive correlational study included 406 students of the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery who were selected using the census method. The data gathering tools were a researcher-made demographic questionnaire, a questionnaire on Internet-based social network use, and the Siberia Schering’s Emotional Intelligence Standard Questionnaire. The data were analyzed using SPSS for Windows, Version 16.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA), descriptive statistics, and inferential statistics, using the Pearson correlation coefficient.
RESULTS: The mean total score reflecting use of virtual social networks was 116.81±17.20 (scale: 38–190), and the overall emotional intelligence score was 99.27±11.48 (scale: 33–165). The emotional intelligence and social network use dimensions that received the highest scores were related to self-motivation and sharing academic content. There was a negative statistical relationship between the use of Internet-based social network applications and emotional intelligence variables (r=-0.40; p<0.001).
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Due to the negative relationship between the use of virtual space and emotional intelligence and the positive effect that the emotional intelligence component can have in establishing a proper relationship between nurse and patient, university officials should consider methods to guide safe and appropriate student use of virtual networks.