Nurses Must Fight Covid Misinformation with Education

This article is about how nurses should fight covid misinformation with education. It discusses how quality education provided by nurses can help turn the tide on COVID-19. It highlights why nurses are preferred experts in healthcare education, discusses credible COVID-19 education guidelines, and calls upon all nurses to band together in nurse education.

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Nurses Must Fight Covid Misinformation with Education

It is no secret that in today’s world we are living in an age of misinformation. From social media platforms that tend to create echo chambers and house self-proclaimed experts promoting their personal beliefs, to conspiracy theories and seemingly political agendas, misinformation is shared and reshared at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has entered this sea of misinformation leaving many people uninformed about COVID-19 and evidence-based healthcare practices.  People want to hear the truth about their health and are looking for guidance to make well-informed healthcare decisions. As nurses, how do we best fight this battle of COVID-19 misinformation? The answer is with education.

Nurses have a unique ability to communicate across the healthcare spectrum. We are experts in translating medical jargon into plain language in order to ensure that our patients understand their healthcare, and we have the tools to communicate higher-level medical terminology amongst our colleagues. Who is better fit to educate the public on health-related matters, particularly COVID-19? We have a voice, a passion for healthcare for all, and the knowledge needed to educate everyone. It’s time for nurses to take the lead on COVID-19 education.

People Trust Nurses

Historically, nurses have been considered one of the most trusted professions. According to the most recent gallop poll, nurses ranked highest as the most trusted profession, earning a record of 89% (very high/high) score for honesty and ethics. Gallop further highlights that nurses have been at the top of the list for every year since they were added in 1999 except for 2001 when firefighters ranked the highest due to the September 11 incident. Armed with the knowledge of this incredible trust that people place upon nurses, it is imperative that we use our voice, pen, or web platforms to educate the public. Nurse education is the solution to turning the tide on COVID-19.

What is Our Platform?

Our platforms are community-specific. Whether we work in primary care, schools, critical care, inpatient units, parish nursing, or community health, we can use our voice in our communities and workplaces to educate the public. Change starts locally in our communities. Small droplets of change that turn into ripples that manifest into waves that help turn the tide on COVID-19.

Nursing Niches: How Can We Make a Difference in Our Communities and Workplaces?

Outpatient Clinic nurses have a responsibility to educate patients on all aspects of COVID-19 as well as triage potential COVID-19 patients to their best level of care. In-patient nurses are on the frontlines of COVID-19, caring for sick patients and educating them upon discharge. Parish nurses are a valuable educational resource to their church communities, having the potential to reach many people who may not seek out healthcare from hospitals and clinics. Critical care nurses are on the battlefield of COVID-19, actively saving lives as they fight the virus. Nurse writers are incredibly important in the misinformation battle against COVID-19 as their words may reach thousands of viewers and span across communities. All nurses must band together to fight COVID-19 misinformation and provide evidence-based information to everyone.

School Nurses are a Hot Topic Right Now

As children all around the nation are returning to school, many parents and children are frightened, and many are uninformed about best healthcare practices. School nurses are invaluable today as they provide quality health education to students who in turn will bring those learned health practices home to their families. This generational health education may help turn the tide on COVID-19.

The big question that everyone is asking is how can we keep our kids safe?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends universal masking and maintaining a physical distance of at least 3 feet between students in K through 12 schools. School nurses should provide education to students on why this is important, utilizing age-appropriate language so that all children understand the reasons behind this requirement. Children are more willing to comply with rules if they understand the reasons behind them. School nurses may need to be inventive in coming up with creative methods for children to interact with each other while following the CDC guidelines. School nurses have never been more important than they are today. Our nation relies heavily on their presence in schools to monitor, educate, and protect our children.

Another Sounding Board for Nurse Education is Social Media

Nurses can utilize their social media platforms to post evidence-based health information related to COVID-19. Nurses have the unique ability to interpret complex scientific language into plain English that can be understood by all, and social media platforms are easy places for nurses to reach people in their communities. As we learned earlier, people trust nurses and they want to hear from us.

Okay, so we have an audience, now what?

What are the Things that Nurses Should Say?

Nurses should continually refer to the CDC website for current guidelines. Here are examples of some of the most important COVID-19 related education topics:

Promote vaccines

It is imperative that nurses continually provide information on vaccine safety. According to the CDC, over 396 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been given in the United States as of the time this article was written.  Regarding vaccine safety, the CDC states that tens of thousands of participants were evaluated in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, and the vaccines met the FDA standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. The CDC wants the public to know that vaccines are safe and effective. The CDC states that serious safety problems from COVID-19 vaccines are rare, results from vaccine safety monitoring efforts are reassuring, and common side effects that some people may have include swelling/redness/pain at the site, tiredness, headache, muscle ache, fever, and nausea. It is important that nurses repeat this information in their workplaces and communities.

Promote hygiene practices

Nurses should provide education on best hygiene practices and how quality hygiene practices decrease virus transmission. The importance of proper handwashing to prevent the spread of the virus cannot be stressed enough. Proper handwashing techniques include washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or rubbing hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Nurses should recommend frequent disinfection of highly touched surfaces in the workplace and schools.

Promote masking

Know when to mask up and why masking matters.

The CDC recommends that unvaccinated people wear masks while indoors and in crowded outdoor settings. Fully vaccinated people should wear masks while in indoor spaces that are in areas of high transmission. Because COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes droplets and small particles that hold the virus, masks are important because they contain those droplets and particles and prevent them from spreading to others.

Wrapping it All Up

Nurses are experts in education, have been voted the highest trusted profession, and are proficient in tailoring language to the appropriate educational level of their audience. Misinformation is wreaking havoc amongst our communities. Nurse education is the solution to turning the tide on COVID-19. There are around 4 million Registered Nurses in the United States. If every one of those nurses raised their personal bar on COVID-19 related education amongst their communities and workplaces, then evidence-based information would reach more people. Education is the best weapon to fight misinformation. We can do this! Go forth and educate!


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: COVID-19

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Transmission

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How COVID-19 Spreads

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How to Protect Yourself & Others

U.S. Ethics Ratings Rise for Medical Workers and Teachers

American Nurses Association (ANA): Workforce

Sarah Vande Vrede, BSN, RN has over 13 years of experience as an RN. Her primary specialties are cardiology and neuroscience both in the inpatient and outpatient setting.

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10,834 Posts

Specializes in NICU, PICU, Transport, L&D, Hospice. Has 44 years experience.

When you fight covid misinformation and nonsense with facts in these threads you will be called a bully.  It's worth it. 

Specializes in Ortho, CMSRN. Has 9 years experience.

Easy for you to say. Every time I post ANYTHING recommending vaccination, my family and friends start an ugly fight on my facebook. I'm done.


10,834 Posts

Specializes in NICU, PICU, Transport, L&D, Hospice. Has 44 years experience.
3 hours ago, ClaraRedheart said:

Easy for you to say. Every time I post ANYTHING recommending vaccination, my family and friends start an ugly fight on my facebook. I'm done.

facebook is heaven for antivaxxers...the platform elevates the crazy.