PDA use in the real world of nursing? - page 2

Much has been discussed about PDA use while in school; I'm one of those who never used or needed one then. Actually, a huge rarity in my program (1 student in 85?). Anyway, I'm now facing my... Read More

  1. by   Ruby Vee
    [font="comic sans ms"]one thing that hasn't been mentioned is "documents 2 go", which comes with most new pdas. when you're a new nurse, or new to an institution, there are all of these policies and procedures that are unique to that institution. i scan them into my computer, then put them on my pda using docs 2 go. that way i have them at my fingertips. saves me having to remember "in this institution, does the cvp dressing get the vaseline gauze or is it the chest tube?" we're also getting new procedures, new equipment and new protocols all the time. i put them on my pda until i get used to using them. some protocols -- like the tight glucose control and the anticoagulation protocols are complicated enough that i keep them on my pda -- others i delete as i get used to them.

    pdas have a built in calculator, too, which is nice when the computerized charting goes haywire, and i have to actually calculate out my drips!

    a to-do list with alarms helps me to remember things like unclamping that ng tube after i gave the med -- instead of remembering it four hours later when the next med is due and the patient has barfed all over my clean bed!

    i have a special category in my address book for hospital stuff -- like how do you spell the last name of that new doc from india? phone number for the "back phone" in the cath lab? the housekeeper's name -- she's russian, works only one weekend a month, and i can never remember her name. pager number for social work. that kind of stuff.

    i have a little freeware program called "palmekg" which helps my orientees to figure out rhythms, and "medcalc" which has all sorts of formulas, etc. on it.

    i feel naked without my palm!
  2. by   Aradien
    I like this thread too! Although I am not a nurse yet, (I will be starting clinicals later this month), I find I use my PDA quite a bit. It just became "recommended" this semester by my nursing program. I already have found lots of uses for it.

    I have a Dell Axim X51v. I use the calendar feature, contacts feature, downloaded recommended/required software from Skyscape: Taber's, Archimedes, Davis Drug Guide, ICD-9-CM (Disease classification), and RnDxTests2 (Lab diagnostics). I don't know how much of this I will use during clinical but I can't help but think how much of a break my back will get not carting around all of those books! Plus not having to keep track of all of them.

    Just my opinion.

  3. by   RNsRWe
    Wow, thanks everyone! I'm going to be jotting down those makes/models when I tote myself off to Best Buy to do a little window shopping

    Ruby, I didn't know you could put scanned documents on them! THAT would be great: I'm going to be getting used to all kinds of "this is the way we do it here" stuff, and I would love to be able to 'flip' through pages instead of actually hauling around a notebook. I wonder if the screen's too small to read well, though...?

    Good information, all of it. If anyone has more to share, please do so!
  4. by   rnmom3153
    This is an awesome thread! I have an illness that has robbed me of my memory, but I compensate by keeping extensive notes on everything. I always carry around a little notebook. I will be getting a palm pilot or PDA. I'm really excited! I am taking notes on this thread now to learn all about them.

    What is the difference between a palm pilot and PDA?
    Thanks so much for all this great info!
  5. by   SportyNurse
    The hospital that I work is really big on keeping up to date with technology. We have a robot pyxis, intelliscan for pharmacy orders, all computer charting. Our nurses notes, vitals, labs, anything and everything is accessible by the MDs in their off site offices. To add extra safety to the computers, our ID badges now have a microchip in them that you have to insert into the keyboard before you can chart, or access the charts.

    So... anyway, their latest thing our housewide PDAs. They haven't completely hit the whole hospital yet (within the year), but all medical staff (including CNA's) will be issued their own PDA with whatever information they need on it that is pertinent to their job. The RTs mainly use it right now, it has bluetooth and a patient tracker, so you can actually use the flow sheet and chart in the room at the bedside, and then it uploads into the computer system. You can also pull labs, and other information up at the bedside.

    I personally bought my PDA my first semester of nursing school, and it has been a godsend.
  6. by   RebeccaJeanRN
    I have a Palm Treo and bought it halfway through nursing school. I have Tabers and Lippincotts drug guide on it. I also have Documents to Go, and Medical Spanish on it. I also am very creative about how I use Outlook and keep all kinds of notes on it (I use Outlook as one big master file and put anything I want under any subject I enter there, just using the name field as a 'subject' field...). The Palm synchronizes with my home computer so the same information is on both. One day when my Palm broke and they mailed me a new one, I just plugged it in and 'poof!' , everything was loaded back into the new one! Can't imagine life on the floor without it, or even in my nursing school classes. If I forgot a term when Instructor mentioned it, I'd just look it up. Any unfamiliar drug on the MAR, I just look it up. It I saw something unfamiliar written by a doctor on the chart, I'd just look it up. If I overheard something I didn't know when the Drs were on rounds, I'd look it up as soon as they left. It was one of the best investments I ever made!!!! I started with a laptop, but just too darn big & bulky for carrying all the time or for quick lookups of stuff. This is a heavy little item compared to others that are only just cell phones, but it does tons more and is still pocket size (even though it does weigh down the pocket of my scrubs!). I don't know what I'd do without it!!
  7. by   RNsRWe
    bumping this up so as not to lose it!