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Using online social networks to facilitate clinical and ethical reasoning Communication, collaboration and reflective discussion have

been highlighted as important components in the development of practice knowledge, which is often tacit and hidden to the student therapist. The development of clinical and ethical reasoning is particularly challenging, although reflective discussion is known to have a positive impact on this process. However, little is known about the potential of social networks to facilitate the development of clinical and ethical reasoning during clinical practice. This study aimed to determine if participation in an online social network enhances reflection through online discussion in order to develop practice knowledge. Undergraduate physiotherapy students were required to participate in discussions within an online social network with the aim of promoting reflection around clinical and ethical scenarios that they encountered during their clinical placements. The text of these discussions was qualitatively analysed with another reviewer in order to produce categories and themes. Insight was gained into the use of social networks to facilitate reflection during clinical placement. Strengths of the approach included enhanced communication between students and staff, the externalisation of practice knowledge by both students and staff, and increased levels of reflective discussion around patient scenarios. Weaknesses included poor facilitation from staff members. These insights have implications for how clinical education can be undertaken and healthcare educators are encouraged to explore emerging alternatives to traditional approaches. Online social networks can augment learning by promoting reflection on patient scenarios encountered during clinical placement.