Nursing and midwifery students’ perspectives of using digital systems on placement: A qualitative study

Ann Peacock*, Christine Slade, Christine Brown Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To explore undergraduate nursing and midwifery student perspectives of using digital patient systems on clinical placements.

This was an interpretative qualitative design study.

Undergraduate nursing and midwifery students in a large Australian metropolitan university were invited to participate in two focus groups from April to June 2019. Twenty (20) students participated and data on their perspective of using digital systems on placement were collected. Thematic analysis using NVivo 12 software was undertaken.

Students identified benefits and challenges when moving between paper records and digital systems. Whilst paper reporting was more efficient for some processes, the students recognised the advantages of digital technology, such as enabling greater confidentiality and consolidation of patient data in one place. However, they also reported difficulty with student access and the size of the portal digital workstation at the bedside. Generally, the lack of preparation and access was considered frustrating and mitigated some of the benefits described when using digital systems.

Nursing and midwifery students prefer to be prepared for both paper and digital record keeping. Whilst students identify the benefits of digital platforms, not having direct access mitigates the benefits of these systems. Students identified the use of simulation and interactive modules prior to commencement of clinical practice to enable them to feel more confident with using the systems in patient care.

Health care students require direct access to digital health platforms whilst on clinical placement to facilitate their learning. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are in a unique position to work with health care providers to better prepare health care professionals, including nurses and midwives, to work with digital health care systems. Further research is needed to develop the educational preparation for nurses, midwives, and other health care professionals to work with digital systems in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 1128-1139
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number4
Early online date03 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • General Nursing


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