Do you recommend a PDA?

  1. HI! I am a 1st year family NP student. Clinical starts next semester and our instructor recommends us getting a PDA. I have a MacBook, what PDA would you recommend? What do you use your PDA for? On a scale of 0-10, how would you rate the usefulness of your PDA (0=not helpful, 10= very helpful)? Please share any tips you have in re: buying a PDA. THX!

    CareBear : )
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   West_Coast_Ken
    Quote from NCLEX_CareBear
    HI! I am a 1st year family NP student. Clinical starts next semester and our instructor recommends us getting a PDA. I have a MacBook, what PDA would you recommend? What do you use your PDA for? On a scale of 0-10, how would you rate the usefulness of your PDA (0=not helpful, 10= very helpful)? Please share any tips you have in re: buying a PDA. THX!
    Hi CareBear,

    How useful a PDA will be to you depends on you alone (duh).

    Take a look at how you currently use tech items (like a cell phone, PC, DVD player, MP3 player, etc). If you find you don't like using those items and can't be bothered with learning their functions a PDA would likely be a waste of money. The learning curve on these puppies can be steep as they are not all that intuitive and there just aren't a lot of folks out there who 1) own one and 2) know how to use them well so most PDA users are on their own. Knowing it's mostly up to you is a key item IMO. Even decent web sites are few and far between, unlike the PC world.

    If you like using gadgets and will spend the time to get up to speed both on the hardware (the PDA itself) and the software (what you are going to load onto the PDA...and some of this isn't the clearest either)...if you will work at it like anything else it can pay HUGE dividends.

    I am the only student in my class of 31 with a PDA but several students are going to hit up Santa for one soon and I was asked just today by two students for help, etc and I'll help 'em, sure.

    In 15 years of Information Technology work for giant worldwide high tech corporations I never even considered one of these things though I knew friends who had 'em. I was always around a PC with wide open internet access at home and the office, so why bother?

    A friend talked me into getting one when I began nursing school and I am VERY glad I did. The amount of information I have at my fingertips the smartest medical minds in the world can't begin to touch. Of course knowing how to apply that knowledge is another matter and I have miles to go in that vein but at least I have a huge start and advantage with my PDA loaded with lots of nursing and medical goodies.

    Regards,

    Ken

    Palm Tungsten T5
    2 gig SD card
    Pepid RN Student software
    various Skyscape reference volumes
  4. by   traumaRUs
    Yes, it is very useful as an APN. I use the ePocrates Pro (about $99/year) and it is electronically updated every time I sync it with my computer. I love the notebook feature where I can just write notes in regular script. I use it daily numerous times.


    I do also use a cell phone for work/home and I am seriously considering a Treo phone/PDA.
  5. by   SweetOldWorld
    I work in med/surg and have a Tungsten T5. Most of the time, I leave it at home. It's very handy to have so many references in one small package, but I find it difficult to scroll through the screens to find the info I need. I prefer books, but that's just me. I've had a little trouble synching it to my Mac at times but have generally been able to fix the problem after a few choice words and hair pulling. More than I'd like, it crashes when I'm looking something up and I have to reboot it. I wouldn't get a T5 again.

    The two programs I use the most are Tabor's medical dictionary, which I love, and the Davis drug guide. I'm back in school for my RN to BSN and bought book copies of these books too, so I can't justify updating them for my PDA too. I don't know if I'll get another PDA when this one dies. I probably will. On a 1-10 scale, I give it a 5 for usefulness. Your mileage may vary...

    You might find it more useful just because you can constantly update the drug info depending on which program you use. It just really depends what you would use it for.
  6. by   West_Coast_Ken
    Quote from sweetoldworld
    i've had a little trouble synching it to my mac at times but have generally been able to fix the problem after a few choice words and hair pulling. more than i'd like, it crashes when i'm looking something up and i have to reboot it. i wouldn't get a t5 again.
    hi sweetoldworld, that's really a bummer. i had problems with my pda, too, until i discovered that pdas are not "small computers." they can be very picky regarding which programs can cause all manner of wierd problems and you'll never know it's not the pda but the program that was loaded months ago. i have no way of knowing if this is the issue for you or not, but it sure was for me.

    how do you know if a program will cause your pda to crash or not? check out this list of software that other users of the same model have already tested (in our case, the tungsten t5). this is a sharp bunch of people here...

    palmfocus: tungsten t5 software compatibility list

    if the program (and even the proper version) are not on the green list, i never, ever load the durn thing unless it's from a major vendor such as pepid, epocrates, skyscape, etc.

    a few weeks ago i totally wipped my t5 (called a "hard reset") and only loaded "compatible" programs, and updates from palm, and i've not had one problem since. and trust me, i have a ton of programs loaded on my pda.

    another tip which works both for pdas and pcs in general is:

    always, always turn off, then turn on your device (a "soft reset" in the pda world) before and after loading each and every program and before doing another thing at all. do not load more than one program at a time--ever without doing a reset or reboot (in the pc world)!!!

    this simple little step will avoid many problems.

    regards,

    ken
    Last edit by West_Coast_Ken on Dec 1, '06
  7. by   SweetOldWorld
    Thanks for the info, Ken. That link is very helpful.
  8. by   JRapha'sRN
    I also use a Mac. When doing my research I learned that (obviously) Mac users shouldn't get a "pocket PC." I decided to get a Palm and have been very happy with it. I haven't had any problems syncing it to my Mac.

    If you learn to use the programs you load on your PDA you will find it to be a very valuable tool. If you don't learn about the programs and how they can assist you then you may (as a few of my colleagues have done) put your PDA in a drawer and never look at it. I rate it a 10 out of 10 in usefulness in my practice.
  9. by   Evefox1
    i'm currently shopping for a pda. i have never had one before. i would like to have a pda/cell combo. does anyone know of a good one?
  10. by   Mission
    I have a treo 700 that I love. the new treo (750) I think is supposed to come out next month and the slightly more affordable 680 just came out.

    On a slightly unrelated side note, I'm a PDA software developer and an RN. Glad there are nurses out there excited about using PDAs.
  11. by   Evefox1
    Quote from Mission
    I have a treo 700 that I love. the new treo (750) I think is supposed to come out next month and the slightly more affordable 680 just came out.

    On a slightly unrelated side note, I'm a PDA software developer and an RN. Glad there are nurses out there excited about using PDAs.
    thanx Mission i am currently considering the treo 680.
  12. by   NCLEX_CareBear
    Thanks everyone for your feedback! I definitely love gadgets. I can't live without my cell and Macbook. I'm also looking into getting a smartphone (cellphone + PDA). Any suggestions? Are they realiable? THX!

    CareBear
  13. by   deleern
    I am an LPN and in the RN program I never leave home with out my PDA. I even have a NCLEX program in it .... I can down load my stuff from my Word progam. I use it continuously. I also recomend that students have the same Programs available on there Laptop or PC as well. I recomend it Highly
  14. by   Susyq25
    I'm a Women's health NP and i'm getting ready to buy my 1st PDA, but can't make up my mind. I want to be able to reference diagnoses and meds, but i'd also love to be able to listen to music & maybe even check my email.

    I don't know that i'd want a smart phone, but if it's worth it to buy one i'd be willing to look into it. any input? thanks

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