Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Steven L. Baumann

Committee Members

Kathleen Nokes

Elizabeth Gross Cohn

Subject Categories

Health Information Technology | Nursing | Nursing Administration | Public Health and Community Nursing


Personomics, COVID-19 Nurses' Expressions, Social Media Analysis, Knowing the Patient as a Person


Background: COVID-19 has dramatically changed human-to-human interactions from in-person to the nonhuman domain of virtual space. In January 2021, every 28 seconds one person died of COVID-19 in the United States. An average of 3,100 Americans died each day during the deadliest month of the pandemic. As of January 2023, the number of COVID-19 deaths in the USA surpassed 1.000.000 people. In hospitals, human-to-human interactions were often limited to seeing one’s eyes behind the face shields, and respirator masks, and hearing a muffled voice, or sounds of the ventilators. In New York State 452 nurses died during the pandemic.

Research Question: What does it mean to know the patient as a person during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Method: A predefined search of posts was done with filters: Hashtags, Twitter handles, and keywords related to #NURSING “AND” #COVID-19 and #PATIENT “AND” #CARE and #PATIENT “AND” #PERSON. Talkwalker, a cloud-based social media data aggregator was used to conduct the search, in addition to social-media listening and manual data search. Qualitative Gadamerian content analysis was done to examine nurses’ textual and pictographic ways of self-expression.

Results: A total of 15,300 posts on social media were identified between October 28, 2021, and November 28, 2022. This included a total of (n = 5,700) posts related to Nursing “AND” Covid-19 and (n = 9,600) posts to Patient “AND” Care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The themes identified in the study pointed to nurses: Health Concerns (79.4%), Burnout (78.6%), Care related issues (78.2%), (Work Stress (65.4%), Concern for patients’ safety (56.7%), (6) Crisis in healthcare (34.6%) and Life and family (27.5%). The data drill-down showed that the reference to the word “Person” was (94.2%) which was slightly higher than that to “Patient” (91.8%).

Conclusions: Social media listening and Gadamerian content analysis provided insight into the nurses’ experience of knowing the patient as a person in the context of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Social media listening and content analysis can provide an innovative study design as opposed to the traditional literature review. Real-time social media data analysis can be used as a predictive tool for new and emerging health issues.

Keywords: Knowing the Patient as a Person, COVID-19 Nurses’ Expressions, Social Media Analysis, Gadamerian Hermeneutics