Assessment of electronic health record usability with undergraduate nursing students

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The following is a review of the article, “Assessment of electronic health record usability with undergraduate nursing students" [1].


The authors of this article understand the importance of electronic health records EHRin the future of health care. They noticed that although Electronic Health Record (EHR) were beginning to be implemented in many major hospitals, there existed few nursing schools that had a curriculum plan that taught about the fundamentals of EHRs.


The authors conducted a study to explore the usability of EHRs with undergraduate nursing students. 13 undergraduate nursing students were included in the study. 93% of the nursing students ranked themselves as being proficient or expert computer users. The nursing students had completed four clinical placements in which they had interactions with patients in hospitals and used their documentation knowledge on paper charting to document their care. None of the nursing students had used EHRs in documenting patient care; however, they stated that they were aware of EHR.


The study was able to establish three EHR usability themes: novice users, confidentiality and security, and repetition and practice. The study showed that as nursing students with no experience in EHR, they did not know where to document their patient care and where to search for the patient’s history. This led to time being spent on locating the correct areas in the EHR. Confidentiality and security occurred when the nursing students forgot to close browser windows that were left open after the nursing students logged off from the EHR program. The nursing students stated that repetition and practice with EHR would greatly enhance their ability to navigate through the EHR program. The authors discovered that although the nursing students were considered to be in the “computer age” generation, they had challenges with the use of EHR. The authors propose that curriculums about the EHR system should be offered during the nursing education to enhance all nursing students’ familiarity with navigating EHRs.


This article serves as a good guidance in training future health care providers about the importance of correctly using EHRs. It is wrong to assume that the upcoming generation of health care providers will know how to correctly utilize EHR’s due to their familiarity with computers. This assumption can lead to errors. All health care providers need adequate training to utilize EHR’s properly.

Another important aspect of successful EMRs is user acceptance. [2]


  1. Jones, S. & Donelle, L. (2011). Assessment of electronic health record usability with undergraduate nursing students. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, 8(1), 1-18.
  2. Sittig, D.F., Krall, M.A., Dykstra, R.H., Russell, A. and Chin, H.L. (2006) and was titled “A survey of factors affecting clinician acceptance of clinical decision support”.