Nursing undergraduates’ perception of preparedness using patient electronic medical records in clinical practice

Main Article Content

Lyndall Mollart
Rachel Newell
Danielle Noble
Sara Geale
Carol Norton
Anthony O'Brien


Nursing education, electronic health records, student nurses, clinical skills/competency


Objective: To investigate third-year undergraduate nursing students’ perceptions and views on being prepared for using patient electronic medical records (EMR) in clinical placement after using only paper-based documentation during their education program; and their opinion on the introduction of EMR in the university simulated learning environments to be work ready. Background: Contemporaneous clinical practice in many countries now requires nurses to competently use patient EMR including electronic observation and medication charts. However, Australia has been slow in introducing this learning into undergraduate nursing programs. For this reason, there is a knowledge gap examining nursing students’ viewpoints on learning EMR in their undergraduate program in preparation for the clinical environment and future registered nurses in Australia. Methods: All third-year students enrolled in the undergraduate nursing program at one regional metropolitan university in New South Wales (including three campuses) were invited to complete an electronic questionnaire. This survey included questions on the students’ perceptions on their confidence and preparedness using EMR in clinical practice based on their current paper-based learning in the university simulation laboratories; and their opinions on the benefits of integrating EMR learning into the undergraduate nursing curriculum. Results: Seventy third-year nursing students completed the questionnaire, a response rate of 13.2%. Most respondents (71.1%) did not feel prepared to use EMR in the clinical setting after only learning paper-based documentation and 81.7% did not feel confident accessing patients EMR the first time. Nearly all students (98.5%) believed they would be more confident using EMR initially in their clinical placements if there had been opportunity to practice using EMR in the university simulation laboratories. There was a significant difference with female participants perceived improved confidence accessing patients EMR, if EMR was integrated into the university simulated laboratories compared to the male participants (p=0.007). Conclusion: In this study, third year nursing students believed that learning to use an EMR program in the university simulated environment will increase their confidence and preparedness when on clinical placement and be work ready as registered nurses. Implications for research, policy and practice: This study showcases the importance of preparing nursing students for entering the workforce as confident and competent new graduate registered nurses and integrating health informatics and digital health technologies universities in undergraduate nursing programs in Australia. Future studies on Australian student’s experience with the introduction of an academic EMR program is recommended.

What is already known about the topic?

  • Using patient electronic medical records (EMR) is included in the nurse’s scope of practice in healthcare services worldwide. This scope of practice requires that nursing students learn the skills to use EMR in a safe environment.

What this paper adds:

  • Third year nursing students are not being prepared to use EMR in the clinical setting based on paper-based learning

  • Majority of students identified the need to learn to use EMR in university simulation labs prior to clinical placement

  • Effective integration of EMR into nursing undergraduate curriculum in Australia is essential

Abstract 2540 | View PDF Downloads 1814