The impact of using an academic electronic medical record program on first-year nursing students’ confidence and skills in using edocumentation: a cohort study

Main Article Content

Lyndall Mollart
Danielle Noble
Adrian Mereles
Jenny Mallyon
Pauletta Irwin

Keywords

Confidence and skills , electronic medical records, nursing undergraduate curriculum

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the impact of using an academic electronic medical record program on first-year nursing students’ confidence and skill in E-documentation after their hospital clinical placement.


Background: Registered nurses are the largest user group of health information technology systems such as patient electronic medical records (eMR). As such, nurse undergraduate programs need to reflect contemporary practices and respond to emerging trends including digital technology, however integration of eMR learning has not occurred in many countries. To address this gap, a fit-for-purpose academic eMR simulation program was developed by nursing academics and a university Learning Design Department member.


Study Design and Methods: A quasi-experimental study design, with self-administered pre-test, post-test surveys, was used with a convenience sample of all first-year nursing students at one regional university in NSW Australia in 2019 and 2021.


Results: A total of 105 students completed the surveys (9.7% pre, and 7.4% post-test survey). Only 23% of respondents received training during hospital clinical placement on eMR and electronic observation charts. There was a significant increase in participant confidence and knowledge in documenting in electronic adult observational charts and notes after using the academic eMR program and attending clinical placement. Three themes emerged from the qualitative data: preparation for practice; more exposure increases confidence; and we can’t forget the patient.


Conclusion: Students acknowledged the need for repeated practice using an academic eMR program in university learning environments to ensure they would be work-ready. The identified challenge was the communication barrier (computer on wheels) and the potential negative impact on person-centred care and therapeutic communication.


Implications for research, policy and practice: Further research is required to determine whether repeated practice with electronic documentation is best placed within a curriculum to increase learner confidence. Simulations that incorporate workstations on wheels should be tested to determine best practice for therapeutic communication.


What is already known about this topic?



  • Registered nurses are the largest user group of health information technology systems.

  • Nursing undergraduate program needs to reflect contemporary practices including digital technologies.

  • Integration of eMR education in undergraduate nursing programs has not occurred in many countries.


What this paper adds:



  • Evaluation of a fit-for-purpose academic electronic medical record program integrated into an undergraduate nursing student’s curriculum.

  • There was a significant increase in participant confidence and knowledge in documenting in electronic adult observational charts and notes after using the academic eMR program.

  • Digital technology education tailored for students of different age groups may be required.

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