Nursing documentation is of utmost importance to nurses in the delivery of quality patient care. Prior to the advent of electronic nursing documentation, nurses used the paper based system to document patients’ information. Electronic nursing documentation brought with it some benefits ranging from easy retrieval of patients’ information using the copy-and-paste feature (which allows nurses to copy previously documented data and paste it into the current time frame) to drop down menus (which provides a list of likely options to choose from when charting patient’s information). Despite the benefits associated with the electronic nursing documentation, studies revealed that it also had its drawbacks. These included inadequate time spent in patient care due to increased charting time; more reliance on the computer as opposed to critical reasoning which is the hall mark of the nursing profession and inadequate options in the drop down menus especially when dealing with patients’ personal condition. Furthermore, in view of its usability and functionality, studies revealed that nurses with prior computer experience were more likely to embrace the electronic system compared to their colleagues without any prior experience.
It is crystal clear that the assumption that electronic nursing documentation will better improve the quality of patient care compared to the paper based system is far from the truth. Although so many research has been done using several benchmarks and factors, however, a more holistic approach will better portray the impact of electronic nursing documentation in provision of quality patient care.
Kelley, Tiffany F., Brandon, Debra H., Docherty, Sharron L. (2011). Electronic nursing documentation as a strategy to improve quality of patient care. Journal of nursing scholarship 43(2), 154 –162.