How helpful is a PDA - page 3

I have been reading the PDA thread but I am still not sure if buying a PDA for 200.-300 is worth it. I bought a digital recorder used it 1 week then just started taking notes instead. So I am afraid... Read More

  1. by   PamRNC
    Quote from lizz
    Of course, everybody has different opinions on this ... but I have the Palm Lifedrive because it has 4 gigs of memory. The biggest down side to a lot of PDA's, at least to me, was not having enough storage space. As soon as you put one program in, you're out of space. It's a real bummer.

    Hey lizz,

    What's the battery life like on the Lifedrive? screen size? Memory hasn't been a big problem for me since I upped to a 1GB memory card, but the Lifedrive looks tempting. Is there a metal hardcase for it like the Tungsten?

    Back to the thread...

    I use my Tungsten for work, it has made looking up some of the more peculiar Dx easier, and also for school. Skyscape has the Cochrane Reviews and since most of my classes involve tons of research now I figured this would be a help. I use Pepid and Davis's Drug Guide the most, but also Tabers', RNDiseases, RNLabs, and English-Spanish medical words and phrases. I work with a lot of newer RNs and there have been a few times during report when everybody just scratches their head as to what this, that or the other comorbidity is. A couple of quick taps and voila! we have answers and know what to be on the look out for r/t the patient with Marfan's.
  2. by   Sheri257
    Quote from PamRNC
    Hey lizz,

    What's the battery life like on the Lifedrive? screen size? Memory hasn't been a big problem for me since I upped to a 1GB memory card, but the Lifedrive looks tempting. Is there a metal hardcase for it like the Tungsten?
    I don't know the exact battery life but, I've never had a problem with it running out, even when I use it all day, probably because it automatically shuts off when you're not using it. You can set the shut off mechanism up to three minutes. Recharge is surprizingly quick. There is a metal hard case. I don't know the exact screen size but, if I had to guess, somewhere around two and a half to, maybe, four inches or less?

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 13, '05
  3. by   West_Coast_Ken
    Quote from lizz
    I use it just as much, if not more for studying. When you're reading and don't know a word, drug, lab value or whatever, it's a lot faster to look it up on the PDA than to flip through a thousand page book.
    Not only is it easier than flipping through a 1,000 book with a tap here adn a tap there, it is also easier to carry around than a 10 pound textbook. The text size can be larger on the PDA version (some of the programs allow you to chose even a larger text size for viewing than the standard text size, too).

    I bought the Tabers 20th ed book before I decided to get a PDA and checked that against the PDA version of Tabers and guess which one was smaller--the printed version. I sold my book to a classmate and use the PDA quite a lot.

    I often look things up during lecture and where appropriate I provide answers that help our understanding. One instructor calls me her "Teaching Assistant" which I really don't like, but it's kinda true.

    Like any tool, it's only as good as the person using it, meaning how long have you invested into learning how to use your PDA, etc... I will be spending more time this break getting up to speed on mine.

    Regards,

    Ken
  4. by   Doubledee
    I am toying with the idea of buying one for use on the job as LTC Shift Supervisor. I figure I need at least, a phone list, Tabers, a Medications Guide, I'd like a lab test book to explain values and purposes. I figure I could probably go to the big office equipment sstore or something for the basic PDA but what about the nursing applications? Do I buy those there or on line? Forgive my ignorance. I am doing well to handle this forum!
  5. by   DR2004RN
    Quote from rehab nurse
    i have a palm zire 72 and i love it....i use it all the time at work, and my coworkers (even some of the docs!) will ask me if i have my "little computer" with me so they can look something up. it sure beats carrying around the equivalent in books. this is what i have on mine-skyscape davis drug guide, iv drug handbook, archimedics calender, rn notes, lab manual, tabers and stedmans, lipincott's drug guide, pepid rn with all their programs (labs, drug interactions, others), nclex study exam, 5 minute clinical consult (meant for docs but very useful for me too...can find out anything on a condition in an instant, usual treatment, meds, etiology, labs, etc...very cool).

    i also have all my photos on it (of my friends and family to keep me thinking of past times), and mine's also an mp3 player so i can listen to music as well when i am on break. i keep track of all my bills on a program on it (expense manager), keep track of my kids activities and mine. i also have a program that keeps track of my medical appointments and meds and such....it's very cool. i couldn't live without mine!

    How much memory do you need to have all of these programs on your pda? I am looking at getting a Tungsten E2 and I would like to have several different things on it, so I was wondering in terms of size, how much memory do I need? I think that one has something like 32kb of memory? I don't know much about kb, mb or gigabytes so forgive me if I am wrong about that.
  6. by   clee1
    Quote from jennany01
    am planning to buy one. just started on my first RN job.
    but i want one that's also a phone.
    any suggestions?
    Palm Treo 650 or 700.

    I darned near bought one or the other; but I have a brand new motorola razor, so I "settled" for a Palm Tungsten TX instead.
  7. by   mps
    i have used palm initially and now a pocket pc phone through out BSN program with skyscape nursing programs and 5MMC and mobipockect pocket MD. some are free from university.It is your second brain.. but need to know what to and where to look to get a faster result at bedside when you have too many programs.
    Is PEPID constelation good in this? is it integrated for all nursing procedures and drugs?
  8. by   PamRNC
    Quote from DR2004RN
    How much memory do you need to have all of these programs on your pda? I am looking at getting a Tungsten E2 and I would like to have several different things on it, so I was wondering in terms of size, how much memory do I need? I think that one has something like 32kb of memory? I don't know much about kb, mb or gigabytes so forgive me if I am wrong about that.
    GB > MB > kB > B
    Gigabytes are larger than megabytes are larger than kilobytes are larger than bytes. How much of a difference - thank you Wikipedia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byte

    gigabyte (1,000,000,000 bytes)
    megabyte (1,000,000 bytes)
    kilobyte (1,000 bytes,

    Most programs are listed as requiring so many MB or kB of free space, some of it is required for opening the program. This information will be listed either on the package or on the website you get the program from. As with regular computer programs it will also specify which PDA and desktop platform it is compatible with. Each program has a number of support files that come with them so this isn't a complete accounting of how much space the programs really use. For instance the package for EngSpan says that you need 1.4MB of free space for the PDA with a Palm OS, and 20MB on a Windows PC.

    The maximum room you can use on a PDA or a memory card is slightly less than the amount listed on the package d/t operating system or some such files.

    I believe my Tungsten E was originally 32MB as well and the card I'm using now is a 1 GB expansion card. You can always check how much memory you have left by looking under info from the list menu.

    Mind you, I do have my programs set to load onto the expansion card, and the info for the card doesn't list all of the programs/files there.

    Okay, here's what I have in the way of nursing programs:
    Handheld Expansion Card
    11.4MB used/28.8MB max 844.1MB used/968.2MB max
    Pepid 2636kB 320kB
    Archimedes 221kB
    Cochrane (4 topics) 320kB
    Davis' drug guide 47kB
    EnglishSpanish 26kB
    MedAlert 68kB
    RNDiseases 47kB
    RNLabs 48kB
    Tabers20 48kB
    ---------
    3461kB

    The E2 should be good to start with, get an expansion card (they come in different sizes) and you will be set.
  9. by   West_Coast_Ken
    Quote from PamRNC
    gigabyte (1,000,000,000 bytes)
    megabyte (1,000,000 bytes)
    kilobyte (1,000 bytes)
    Actually, there is a lot of confusion when refering to "bytes" and computers. Computers at their basic level work on the base 2 system (i.e. "0" and "1"). A true kilobyte in the computer world is actually 1,024 bytes, a megabyte is 1,024 x 1,024 or 1,048,576 bytes, etc.

    This might seem trivial but it's not to the computer nor was it to a co-worker who was once figuring space calculations while designing a large database. I pointed out to him that it was not 1,000 but rather 1,024 bytes per kilobyte and he said "it's easier to do the math this way." Really, even if you use Excel to do the math for you?

    Well he ended up short on all of his disk arrays and while he was "just a little off" he might as well have been of a mile off as his data would not fit--period. Be careful.
  10. by   UM Review RN
    I'm a new user of the Palm Lifedrive and I'm absolutely in love with the darned thing.

    I bought Unbound's Nursing Constellation called Nursing Central--that is, Taber's, Davis Drug Guide, Davis Lab & Diagnostic Tests, Diseases and Disorders, and I can go online and bring up Medline Journals (4 of them, I think).

    I finally figured out the calendar feature with the help of Clee1, and now have all my workdays colored in blue, all personal appointments colored in yellow, bills in red, and Continuing Ed classess in orange. I also hooked up with the alarm system so I can actually give myself time to get ready for an appointment.

    I'm really excited about going to work tonight because I've discovered the Notepad feature. All I do is bring up the program, write on it, and it saves exactly what I wrote and how I wrote it. Although there is a program that will "translate" my handwriting into type, I find it cumbersome, so to find this Notepad feature is truly liberating.

    It means that if I walk into a patient's room without my Cardexes, I don't have to grab a paper towel to write notes on. This feature actually will save a handwritten document and most important of all, it will have the correct time that I wrote it. Can you imagine how handy THAT feature would be in a Code situation????!

    I also have the Voice Memo feature, but I think I'll use that less often. I recorded an alarm that will play when I have to be reminded to do something, but it hasn't actually gone off yet, so I hope I don't scare anyone.

    I also found that the drug guide came in handy when a patient asked me exactly what a medication did, and he was a new admission, the med was to be given in the morning, and I thought he was just testing me. So I whipped out my PDA, found it in less than 2 seconds, and made a friend. He was all set to be cynical and believe that nurses were dumb till I did that, I'm sure.

    I have both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on it. But I don't need Bluetooth, so I'm just using Wi-Fi. I can get on the Internet and get my email and buzz over here to check out the latest news on nursing. I can't do that at work, as my job doesn't have Wi-Fi. But when I'm home, I can sit outside on a nice day and enjoy the sun while I surf the Net and play Bejeweled.

    So yeah, I'm having a ball with it. It's a tool, and yes, it's expensive. But I'm thinking I might be able to write it off at tax time, because I'm using it way more for work and work-related stuff than I am for personal stuff.
  11. by   PamRNC
    Quote from West_Coast_Ken
    A true kilobyte in the computer world is actually 1,024 bytes, a megabyte is 1,024 x 1,024 or 1,048,576 bytes, etc.

    Thanks for the clarification. Main thing would be to check how much space is available on your PDA or expansion card when looking to add more programs and such.

    Quote from Angie O'Plasty, RN
    So yeah, I'm having a ball with it. It's a tool, and yes, it's expensive. But I'm thinking I might be able to write it off at tax time, because I'm using it way more for work and work-related stuff than I am for personal stuff.
    I did that. Professional nursing books/magazines/references should be deductible if you itemize, just like uniforms, etc. As long as you have the receipt...
    Last edit by PamRNC on Jan 23, '06
  12. by   DR2004RN
    Thanks everyone for your help. I did get the Tungsten E2 and I have Epocrates, Tabers and Mosby's lab values on it. I would like to delete some of the programs that the thing came with, (like the expense program,) and I can get to the list of files to delete it, but I dont know which one it is.
  13. by   chaosRN
    :hatparty: Another nurse with a Lifedrive???!!! :hatparty: I'm so excited!! Small minds are easily amused! :chuckle
    I use my PDA at work for everything from looking up drugs to labs to medical words in the dictionary. The only bad thing about it at work, is that it is a little heavy in the pocket. But, after having it there for a while I got used to it! I also use it for my personal stuff. I'd die without it!!!

    PS. Angie O'Plasty, RN, are you useing the regular calendar feature or do you have datebook5 (you can put icons with your bills!!!!) PM or email me if you have any questions. I've had my lifedrive for about 6 months now!

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