Electronic Nursing Documentation: Charting New Territory

Laura A. Stokowski, RN, MS


September 12, 2013

In This Article

Nurses Speak Up About Electronic Charting

Back in the days when computerized documentation was still a pipe dream and we had callouses from so much writing, nurses often grumbled about charting. Here is a familiar observation: "In spite of the apparent importance of charting, it is probably one of the greatest 'hates' of nurses. Many nurses complain that the time spent in charting might be more profitably used in actual patient care."[1] Although made in 1928, this comment could just as easily have been made today.

Not long ago, we posted a short article, Staying Late to Chart: Is This Legal? that clearly hit a nerve with nurse readers of Medscape. The article prompted more than 400 comments and letters to the Editor about the problems nurses were having with electronic documentation. To find out how widespread these problems were, we posted an informal survey asking nurses a few questions about their experiences with electronic documentation. More than 7000 nurses took our survey, and 750 commented.

We took these comments to experts in the field of electronic documentation to get their thoughts and ask for their advice. This article represents what the Medscape readers, and the experts, had to say about electronic documentation and nursing practice, and what nurses may expect from the future.


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