Advantages of Computerized Charting
in College Health

computer By Carol Mulvihill, R.N.,C., CQ Editor and Director of Health Services, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford


In college health, I have been composing nurses' notes on the computer since 1987. From my experience, these are the advantages of documenting nurses' notes on the computer instead of writing them by hand:

  1. Charts are always legible.

  2. It saves time. Charting can be done more quickly once the technique is learned. Saved time can be reallocated to patient care or administrative duties.

  3. You can avoid repetition and misspellings. Instead of writing the same protocols and treatment plans over and over again on different charts, frequently used phrases or protocols can be stored in AutoText in Microsoft Word and added to a patient's chart with a few clicks of the mouse or a few keystrokes.

  4. There is consistency in the charted protocols and treatment plans, but they can still be modified for each individual patient.

  5. Charts can be stored on the computer hard drive or on diskette, and printed out, signed and placed in a file drawer.

  6. It is easier to maintain the confidentiality of the record in the midst of numerous interruptions, which occur in the office. The chart can quickly be put out of sight using File Save and Close if someone walks in or if the phone interrupts you, or by using a Screen Saver. Use of a protection password provides protection of access to files on the hard drive.

  7. New staff can learn treatment protocols by reading and following your customized AutoText definitions.

  8. Development of new skills can provide increased confidence and job satisfaction.

Getting proficient in the use of a computer is a worthwhile goal. As health care professionals, we must keep pace with the new technology. It benefits us as professionals and as individuals, and it contributes to the advancement of our profession. Ultimately, it can result in increased quality of care for the students we serve.

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