Nursing informatics, the use of information and technology, to support the work of the nurse, is an essential part of the modern nurses' job. In the UK this is supported by a range of National Health Service policy documents over the past decade, starting with Information for Health in 1998. Research carried out over this period has however found that nurses lack the necessary skills and knowledge to use computers effectively, and that pre-registration education does not fully prepare student nurses for this aspect of the role of the nurse. This paper presents the results of a longitudinal study carried out with a cohort of nursing students, which found that although the students lacked computer skills and knowledge at the start of their programme they were willing to engage with this agenda. Two factors were found to be necessary for students to use the available IT on placement. One was a belief that they had the skills to use the computers; the other was a supportive environment that encouraged their use. Unfortunately only a minority of students reported that they had experienced a supportive environment.