Computers in Nursing

Nurses Safety


Hi there

I am a third year nursing student wondering how registered nurses feel about the use of computers in the workplace. Do you think it hinders or helps your practice? Do you have any confidentiality issues regarding the use of computers in the workplace. I would appreciate any feedback or comments.



820 Posts

Well, Im a student too, but I think I can offer a good reason for computers in the workplace! :)

Some Doctor's handwriting is harder to read that a pre-schoolers :). If they make all of there notes in their palm pilots, plug it into the computer, and everything goes into the computer chart it makes it SOOOO much easier to get information, med changes, D/Cs, and any other orders.

I personally prefer computer charting. It is faster for me, I can type faster than I can write, and I dont have to spend time trying to decipher someone elses handwriting.

Its great!



280 Posts

I am a L&D nurse, and I work in an LDRP setting. I have done paper and computor charting. I prefer paper for the labor patient, because things change so fast it is easier to jot and transpose later. I hate staring at a computor screen every 15 minutes when my patient needs hands-on support, ie. back rubs, position changes.

For the post partum care, it is nice, because everything is clear and easy, although the program you use can make the job easy or difficult. I have used one where it took 45 minutes to input an admission assessment - and I am pretty competent with computors. Plus, doctors resist the order inputs anyways, so you are still transposing their orders and the issues of clarity remain.

night owl

1,134 Posts

I am a LTC nurse and I find computers in the workplace a Godsend. Everything is *click* right at your fingertips...labs? *click* there you are...Orders? *click* all mine...and very legible...Notes? *bingo* type away or read em all. Telephone ext. #'s? boom, any # you need. Very efficient. Can't imagine being without them. ;)


15 Posts

The issue of computers in nursing is controversal, but computers are not going away so as nurses we should embrace technology and identify ways it can help our profession.

I am currently taking a course in Nursing Informatics. Computers can help nurses in continuing education, in teaching patients, in research, and administration. We all know that there is a lot of duplication of paperwork and a lot of mistakes made because of this in our profession. Computerized patient records can decrease the amount of time nurses spend on paperwork thus allowing more time to be spent with the patient. As mentioned, we could gain access to such things as lab results and we wouldn't have to agonize over doctors handwriting.

Point of care computers (allowing charting to be done at the bedside) would also make charting more accurate and certain computer system give nurses treatment choices that help with decision making. I could go on.

Informatics is growing. As one of my classmates put it - "resistence is futile"! As nurses we have to make sure that any computer system addresses the nurses needs with the larger computer system ie. the hospital system. In order to do that nurses need to become educated in computers and become proactive with any technological changes that may occur in their workplace.

night owl

1,134 Posts

And we need computers that scan those meds faster than what they do. Our scanners take 10 seconds (count them) before it registers in the computer. If we can have lightening speed internet, why can't we have lightening speed scanners??? Makes no sense to me! That's the only complaint that I have. CE? I just started getting my CE hours online, and I find it very worth my while. (especially if they are free) :D

Specializes in Informatics, Education, and Oncology.
Originally posted by Pringle

Hi there

I am a third year nursing student wondering how registered nurses feel about the use of computers in the workplace. Do you think it hinders or helps your practice? Do you have any confidentiality issues regarding the use of computers in the workplace. I would appreciate any feedback or comments.


As a nurse currently practicing in the field of clinical informatics I am biased.

IMHO the use of information systems technologies not only aides nursing practice through improved data entry and access to critically needed patient information but it also improves patient care by providing a clear picture of the patient's status (vs, assessment, lab/diagonstic tests, etc) in one centralized location viewable by(ideally) all caregivers. The uses of information technology tools for research, referrance and decision support are far superior to outdated paper based policy and procedure manuals and PDRs.

If and when systems are designed poorly or are not user friendly perhaps we should look to ourselves as nursing needs to be involved in the design and installation of these systems so that they meet our practice and data needs.


712 Posts

I think it depends on what unit you work on. I work in the NICU and I hated it. Especially when you have a very sick baby with 6 drips going and you have to put in the I & O every hour. I found with my previous employer use MEDITECH once you got the hang of it, it can be your friend. Unfortunately the class they gave during nursing orientation wasn't very throughout, more confusing than ever when you went to your unit. It does minimize rotten handwritten notes especially doctors orders. Overall I prefer paper charting but doctors orders should be computerized.

nightingale, RN

2,404 Posts

My experience in computers in the workplace is somewhere in the middle. I have been afforded computer ordering for labs and tests. I would LOVE to have computer entry for the Dr. orders and bedside charting in my med/surg practice.

My limited experience for informatics class, with my RN to BSN program, was for researching my topic. It was great fun but not very in depth. I am glad to hear of the progress of information tht is now available to the more updated facilities.

I can understand how, in some instances of care, it would be better to maintain paper records. For the most part, I think computers are the way to go!

Has nyone tried working with Palm Pilots in floor nursing?



2 Posts

Thanks to all those who have replied to my question on computers, it is really interesting to find out, especially in different areas of nursing the pros and cons for use of computers.

Do you believe attitudes towards computers become negative because of lack of training and support in using new systems? Perhaps the computers need to be in locations where they are readily accessible and easy to get to, so that you are not being taken away from the patients. Does anyone have any privacy issues with regard to these computers. I remember working in a medical laboratory where the computer monitor was adjacent to a window, the whole screen could be seen in the window. A privacy filter had to be implemented. Do your employers have privacy strategies in place for the use of computers?. Thanks for all your feedback, its great to know I am not alone out there.

:) :) :) :)


280 Posts

When I used computor charting, we had a computor in every room. Still, when I was doing q15min vitals and fetal heart rate assessments, taking the time to log in my password, the data, then log out took maybe four minutes each time, but that is two contractions to a laboring mom. I would rather be rubbing her back or giving her some other hands on support instead of staring at a computor screen. Just inputing the initial assessment into the computor took 15-30 minutes. For charting in the labor room, I prefer paper, hands down!


305 Posts

Computers were suppose to revolutionize Nursing were'nt they?

All I know is that my facility now has more forms than ever! How did that happen? I don't mind doing some of my work on the computer, but sheesh enough already. In my facility we have 25 Full time Rns (we have 300 residents) and most of our time is spent doing computer chores. This is not the reason I went into nursing. Something has to change, but knowing nursing it won't be any time soon.

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