Laptop and PDA opinions needed

  1. Hello everyone,

    I will be starting nursing school Fall 2004 and am looking for advice from students who have been there done that I know there are lots of threads about laptops and PDAs, but I can't seem to find answers to a lot of my questions. I would like to get a laptop or a PDA (maybe both) this summer. I have looked at both on different websites, but I don't really know what features I should be looking for. I would like to bring the laptop to class if it is allowed and will also be using it to do homework, look things up ect. during the week when I am staying with my parents. What should I look for in a laptop? What about in a PDA? I saw some CDs on ebay for PDAs with lots of programs that are supposed to help with clinicals...RNotes, medical dictonary..ect would this be helpful/needed for the PDA? I know nothing and could use any help

    Alitia
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   pitto
    Hey There,

    I have a PDA (HP) for clinical work, use Outlook to schedule meds, obs and other things times for my pt. load. It;'s a great help when you're busy to hear a beep that you've got 5 mins. to do something that you've forgotten. Most PDA's sold have Outlook nut make sure that there is a scheduling program before buying.

    Use a laptop but never needed it in school. Don't know what it's like in USA but here in Aussie, most people stopped bringing them in the first few weeks cause they're no use.

    Anyway recommend a PDA and buy what we call MIMS (drug info. book) for install.

    Good luck
  4. by   Alitia M
    Hello,

    Thanks for the help

    Alitia
  5. by   RNNoMore
    A lot of the hospitals are using the new tablet PC's now, which is a full-function Windows XP laptop, but slightly more compact and lightweight, some have a keyboard and you can twist the screen round, fold it up with the screen uppermost and input information using a special stylus and handwriting. Others don't have a keyboard and are called 'slates' and you just use the stylus to input. All tablet PC's come with a special program called 'Journal' which looks just like a sheet of filler paper on your screen, and you can write on it directly with the pen stylus. There are many colours and widths of pen to choose from, plus highlighters & erasers, just by tapping an icon at the top of the screen. You can also choose other paper styles, such as graph paper, music paper etc., to suit what you are doing. I loved this, as I was able to copy diagrams, draw graphs etc., just like you can with ordinary paper and pen - but with the advantage of being able to edit your work by moving things around the screen, erase stuff, copy & paste stuff etc., and NO annoying tapping sounds either or carrying around multiple bulky binders full of heavy paper.

    I bought one because I wanted a laptop when I started my pre-reqs, and decided to get a tablet PC, and I love it. I'm into Mind Maps and there is a special tablet PC mindmapping program that you can buy, by MindJet, that I used all the time: I converted my notes into mind-maps, putting whole sections onto one mind-map for quick revision for exams.

    The downside is that they are fairly new (couple of years), and still a lot more expensive than a standard laptop (mine was about $1,800, but you can get cheaper ones, and they are starting to go down in price somewhat now). The other downside is that unless you can plug your computer into a power supply at school, you will need to buy extra batteries because a 3hr battery life isn't enough for an entire day at college.

    Your local computer store should have one or two on display, that you can try, and it's handy to be familiar with them anyway, because so many hospitals are now using them.

    As for PDA's, I have one and used to use it a lot - unfortunately it's now 3-years old and the screen is going Kaput - I can't write legible handwritten notes on it any more 'cos the lines are all broken up. I still prefer using a paper planner, as it's more flexible and no batteries to run out just as I need to look something up! However, it's going to be too bulky to carry to clinicals, so I may have to think about getting a new PDA.

    Best wishes, Paint.
  6. by   psychomachia
    Quote from Alitia M
    I saw some CDs on ebay for PDAs with lots of programs that are supposed to help with clinicals...RNotes, medical dictonary..ect would this be helpful/needed for the PDA? I know nothing and could use any help

    Alitia
    I'd rather go to work without my underwear than without my PDA...
  7. by   EMTtoRN
    I am still doing my pre reqs and bought a laptop last december before starting. I love it because I can get a lot of school work done at work < we have a lot of down time between calls>. We have a desktop downstairs <raised ranch> but I dont like going down there because it isnt really childproofed for my 2 1/2 year old.

    I bought an E-machine wide screen and LOVE it. It is a new company so they prices are lower but quality is great. We have a wireless router with our cable modem and I bought a wireless card so I can surf all over the house which is wonderful. If you want to check them out you can go to bestbuy.com. They do have computers with built in wireless cards and they are usually about $1-200 more.
    If it is recommended to get a PDA for clinicals I probably will.
  8. by   Larry77
    I have both a laptop and a PDA. I could do without my laptop by using just my desktop computer but I would have a hard time doing without my PDA for clinicals.

    I think both are mainly for conveniance not necessity. So maybe go for just a PDA first if you have a desktop PC already...but if you don't have access to a desktop at home I would definitely go for a laptop. There are some students in my class that don't have any access to a computer and they have a really hard time because they have to use the computer lab all the time.

    There is only 2 of us in my class with PDA's but everyone else envies us and tries to borrow ours.

    Just remember you will probably spend around $1000 for a descent laptop and around $200 for a descent PDA (much cheaper).

    I have a Dell Inspiron 5100 which I love (Toshiba also has a great track record)

    My PDA is a Palm Tungsten T3, an absolutely awesome machine (definitely would go with a Palm OS at this point due to the high number of free and cheap medical software)

    good luck with your decision,
    Larry
  9. by   studentnurse74
    Are PDAs hard to figure out how to work? I'm a bit of a technology phobic. :uhoh21:
  10. by   Alitia M
    Larry,

    I bought a PDA (Sony CLIE' PEG-TJ27) and tablet PC (Toshiba Portege M205-S810). Do you know anything about these? Did I make a good decision? It was the only table they have and not cheap. Let me know if you or anyone else knows anything about them. Thanks

    Alitia
  11. by   casperokc
    Quote from Alitia M
    Larry,

    I bought a PDA (Sony CLIE' PEG-TJ27) and tablet PC (Toshiba Portege M205-S810). Do you know anything about these? Did I make a good decision? It was the only table they have and not cheap. Let me know if you or anyone else knows anything about them. Thanks

    Alitia
    I have the sony clie myself and just love it. I have gotten a bunch of add on alert type software for it also. I can not help you with wether it is good for clinicals or not since I am still in prereqs with a long way to go but I did just finish my first semester with a 3.33 I was so happy! You have to understand I havent been near a class room in almost 15 years so this was a big thing for me. Pluss I was not that good at school when I was younger this was my first a and b's ever! Sorry to ramble I am still floating high.
  12. by   RedSox33RN
    I'm sitting here right now typing on my brand new Dell Notebook. I bought it just for nursing school (even though I don't start until September). I have a long commute and probably will be spending nights at a friend's house near the college some nights, so this will work out well.

    I do want to get a PDA before school also. Does anyone have a Dell? Should I get one that runs Win XP?

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