PDA's Do Canadian Nurses and students use them?

  1. I am starting my first year of Nursing in the fall of 05. Students are being encouraged to purchase a PDA....not so much for first year but definately for second year. They have asked that anyone using one for first year to please let them know how it goes and they can take our info back to their tables with them. I suspect PDA's are a relatively new high tech way of thinking and they don't know all that much yet about them.

    Just wondered if anyone used them both as nurses and as students. I am seriously considering getting one but have no idea what to buy or what software to get. Most of the online software programs are american. Not sure if it makes a difference or not.

    We are being encouraged to use them in "clinical" as well.

    I need ideas on brands to get. How much memory I will need and what software is the best to download. I don't want to spend a lot of money on programs and things I will rarely use.

    Thanks
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   Kudra
    i got one last Christmas and i'm telling you, it's a fantastic reference to have with you at work... i use mine all the time... it's also great to be able to have your schedule handy...

    i have a basic 32 MB Palm Tungstun E model... i opted to go with a lower internal memory because the 32 MB model is better on batteries than the 64 MB model... i bought a 256 MB memory card and have most of my programs on that so i'm not using up the internal memory...

    the one thing i'm not keen on is the Palm OS... i much prefer a Windows based system where you can logically organize files... i have trouble deleting programs i no longer want because you have to know exactly what files to erase... but i was put off getting a Pocket PC because there are less free programs available for nursing...

    free programs i have include:
    Epocrates (drug guide)
    Patient Tracker
    Bayer Critical Care Guide
    Med Rules
    Merck Manual (includes a Diagnostic Tests guide and journals)
    Archimedes (nursing calculator)
    ACLS reference
    Emergency Dept. Nurse
    Ventmate
    MentSTAT (a great mini-mental assessment)
    ICU math

    programs i've bought:
    Skyscape Nursing Constellation (by far the best investment i've made by way of a program... it has the RNotes clinical reference, the Davis Drug Guide for Nurses [my favourite drug guide, and it includes Canadian formulary names], and a Lab reference
    Nursing IV Drug Handbook (an add-on to the Nursing Constellation package)
    Anatomy reference

    many of these programs are American, but honestly, i haven't really had a problem with the American version not jiving with our practice here in Canada... most programs give both SI units and conventional unit values (for example, with blood glucose levels: 6.7 mmol/L [Canada/SI units] or 120 mg/dl [US/conventional units])...
  4. by   Dratz
    Just the answer I was looking for. Very Very informative. I am dying to know about the patient tracker. I have heard that diddlebug (which is similar to patient tracker) has an alarm that reminds you about stuff. Does patient tracker have that? Wouldn't that be great to time your med's.

    As a student what would you recommend then as just the basics to download.

    As I get used to my unit, I think I will want more stuff. I was thinking about the Palm Tungsten T5. It is supposed to have lots of memory.

    What do you think of the folding keyboard. Would that help me in class or would I just use in class and remove later never to use again???

    You gave me a ton of info and now I want more LOL....sorry

    Thanks kindly
  5. by   Kudra
    Quote from AlbertaroseRN07
    Does patient tracker have that? Wouldn't that be great to time your med's.
    i don't think it does... personally, i don't use PT much (too much time to write everything about my pt. in... our assignments change too much to take the time to input all that data)... i don't find it hard to remember my meds... we get printed notices 1 hour before they're to be given...

    Quote from AlbertaroseRN07
    As a student what would you recommend then as just the basics to download.
    i definitely recommend Epocrates, the Merck Manual (you need a nursing license number in order to d/l, but it's pretty easy to get around), Med Rules and Archimedes... if you're willing to spend some cash, the Nursing Constellation i mentioned...

    Quote from AlbertaroseRN07
    What do you think of the folding keyboard. Would that help me in class or would I just use in class and remove later never to use again???
    i personally don't have one... but my Mum did for her 1st palm... she used it, but all in all, found it to be more of a hassle than not (ie: the keys where too small to type fastly and carrying it around)...
  6. by   nurse_1098
    Quote from Kudra
    i got one last Christmas and i'm telling you, it's a fantastic reference to have with you at work... i use mine all the time... it's also great to be able to have your schedule handy...
    Oh my... I feel I am so UNDER-using my PDA! I use it for my schedule and contacts and a few other things but didn't realize the spectrums it could cover and how it could be implemented into my profession! I may have to look into some of the software.
  7. by   Lys
    Just speaking from experience, I loved mine to bits while I was a student (now grad'd).

    I used a Toshiba model, that ran Windows...so I could do all of my scheduling on Outlook, and sync it with my pocket PC. Since my schedule was CRAZY with assignments, work, clinical, classes, appointments, etc...I needed it just for this reason.

    Another great thing for clinicals was that we needed to do "journals" including pt care plans, dx, meds, scheduling, psychosocial, assessments...etc. So I created a template on my pocket PC, and did them on my computer while I was in the hospital, while my fellow students were handwriting them out then had to type them later ;-)

    Personally, I never got any fun software like Epocrates, or PT tracker stuff...but by the time I got my handheld, I was in 3rd year and had a fairly good base of knowledge to work from.

    I would totally recommend getting one, just do some homework first. Personally, the Palm ones I had some issues with (I hate the Palm platform), so I opted for Windows...but not everyone is a windaz fan.

    Much luck with the handheld, and with school :hatparty:
  8. by   PamelaJean
    [QUOTE=Kudra]i got one last Christmas and i'm telling you, it's a fantastic reference to have with you at work... i use mine all the time... it's also great to be able to have your schedule handy...

    I was wondering where you got all of the free programs from I have been trying to find those exact programs for my Palm and I haven't been able too. If you could let me know that would be great. Thanx
  9. by   Kudra
    most of the programs i found by doing searches here... search for things like Palm programs or PDA software... here are the few that i actually have links to...

    http://www.rnpalm.com/software_palm.htm
    www.palmblvd.com
    www.palmgear.com
  10. by   PamelaJean
    Thank you

    Quote from Kudra
    most of the programs i found by doing searches here... search for things like Palm programs or PDA software... here are the few that i actually have links to...

    http://www.rnpalm.com/software_palm.htm
    www.palmblvd.com
    www.palmgear.com
  11. by   Kimberleighsue

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