PDA use in the real world of nursing?

  1. 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 first year in the Real World, and I have a gift offer of a Palm Pilot or other device of my choosing. I know I can put drug book info on it (easy to carry, always up to date) but what else do you--whoever uses them--use them for?

    Do you find it's a toy you can live without, or does it make your work easier? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
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    About RNsRWe

    Joined: May '05; Posts: 10,813; Likes: 25,387
    pulling patients back from The Light; from US
    Specialty: pulling patients back from The Light

    19 Comments

  3. by   nursingisworkRN
    I just started working on a busy tele floor about 2 months ago. I never had a pda in school, but was gifted one for graduation. I downloaded the epocrates bundle, which has meds, labs, diagnoses, and many other tools. However, it wasn't quite enough for all of the diversity the floor encounters. So I added an iv drug program, mosby's labs, medical spanish, and ecgs. It is making my life so much easier. I had a few books that I marked with my name and highlighter to reference on the unit, but so far have had 2 stolen. Very sad, as imo a new nurse needs them the most. SIGH. Now everything is in my pocket, and I can reference at the bedside. Really great for the patients with 5 pages of medications.

    I ABSOLUTELY COULDN'T LIVE WITHOUT IT! I use it at least 10 times a day, all of the info in it is cutting edge, I can view expected treatment plans for different diagnoses, and for my chaotic life the calendar is just the greatest. Also very nice to have everything linked to my laptop, so all of the info is in both places. I don't know how I ever lived without it. As an added bonus, my patients think that I am "very in the know for only being a nurse." LOL...I think that is a complement? That being said, I do have 2 friends who don't use theirs at all. I like to look everything up if I am unsure or don't know about a diagnosis/treatment/medication/intervention so I know what the expected outcome is and why it is being done, so for me it saves a lot of time. If you are very experienced or tend to "wing it", you may be like my friends and not use it much. Mainly I use mine for the hospital use. Decisions. decisions.
  4. by   RNsRWe
    Thanks for the insight! I like to be sure of everything so at this stage of the game that means looking everything up. The drug book is just one of those things that comes to mind as being lost; I'm not sure what other reference books I'd need to bring in myself, but there must be something.

    I'd only be using this for the hospital; I do like the idea of a traveling calendar, though!

    What kind did you get? Did it come with anything?
  5. by   LUVtxNursing
    Quote from nursingisworkRN
    I just started working on a busy tele floor about 2 months ago. I never had a pda in school, but was gifted one for graduation. I downloaded the epocrates bundle, which has meds, labs, diagnoses, and many other tools. However, it wasn't quite enough for all of the diversity the floor encounters. So I added an iv drug program, mosby's labs, medical spanish, and ecgs. It is making my life so much easier. I had a few books that I marked with my name and highlighter to reference on the unit, but so far have had 2 stolen. Very sad, as imo a new nurse needs them the most. SIGH. Now everything is in my pocket, and I can reference at the bedside. Really great for the patients with 5 pages of medications.

    I ABSOLUTELY COULDN'T LIVE WITHOUT IT! I use it at least 10 times a day, all of the info in it is cutting edge, I can view expected treatment plans for different diagnoses, and for my chaotic life the calendar is just the greatest. Also very nice to have everything linked to my laptop, so all of the info is in both places. I don't know how I ever lived without it. As an added bonus, my patients think that I am "very in the know for only being a nurse." LOL...I think that is a complement? That being said, I do have 2 friends who don't use theirs at all. I like to look everything up if I am unsure or don't know about a diagnosis/treatment/medication/intervention so I know what the expected outcome is and why it is being done, so for me it saves a lot of time. If you are very experienced or tend to "wing it", you may be like my friends and not use it much. Mainly I use mine for the hospital use. Decisions. decisions.
    I have asked my hubby to buy me a PDA for my Graduation present, and wanted to know where you get these programs you mentioned?? I want to make sure I know where to get this stuff before we invest in one. Thanks in advance for any info.
  6. by   emsboss
    I agree w/nursingiswork... Both her name and the statements she made about her PDA. I use mine FREQUENTLY!!!!!!!!! I am not "lost" w/o it, but I like the Epocrates bundle.
  7. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from emsboss
    I agree w/nursingiswork... Both her name and the statements she made about her PDA. I use mine FREQUENTLY!!!!!!!!! I am not "lost" w/o it, but I like the Epocrates bundle.
    Forgive my ignorance, but this "bundle"....did you find it at only one specific site online? Or is it something I can search for to get the best price? And about prices...what kind of PDA did you get, and what have you invested in the downloads?

    My husband, too, has given me the 'go ahead' and I don't want to get the wrong stuff
  8. by   SweetOldWorld
    In theory, I love the idea of PDAs. I love the idea of having an up-to-date drug book that I can carry around in my pocket. In reality, I've been disappointed with my Palm and I find I don't use it very much.

    I don't like having to scroll to find information about a drug. I just prefer the format of a book, where I can see the whole page at once. (My personal preference and I realize not everyone feels the same.) I've had endless problems synching the device with my computer, and compatibility problems with one program or another.

    I prefer a paper and pencil calendar, and I use the calendar reminder feature on my computer to alarm for certain events. I just don't use the calendar on my palm. (Again, my own personal preference. Call me old-fashioned.)

    We have Lexi-Comp on our Pyxis machines at work which I can use to look up drugs that aren't in my book.

    One program I really love for the Palm is the Tabor's dictionary. But that doesn't justify the cost of the machine and the program to me. I probably won't get a new Palm when this one becomes obsolete.

    Just my .
  9. by   nursingisworkRN
    The epocrates essentials bundle is available as a download at www.epocrates.com under epocrates essential link. There are online discounts to students, I would try a google search for "epocrates discount". They are usually between 25-50% off the first year, but you need the discount code to enter at time of purchase. I have even heard that some schools have discounts for PDA and software bundles just for nursing. You might try to google for that. It could save some serious cash. All of the software I have is downloaded to my palm and pc. You receive the product registration codes upon payment for software.

    I believe my other software is through www.skyscape.com ,where they have many references available. I know there is also some free software out there, but I have yet to download any. My palm pilot is a tx. It has more memory than I could ever fill, and I don't use it for internet either (our hospital doesn't support it). As far as pricing, it totally varies depending on what programs you choose and what discounts you have. Try looking online for programs that you think you would use. That may help you decide. I think the epocrates was around $100....might have been less, don't really remember. It certainly contains all of the basics to get you started. It was an investment, but easy to pay for with my $$$ now that I am not in school!
  10. by   ortess1971
    I was actually just on the Epocrates website and they are offering a 60 day free trial of the Epocrates Essentials, which has the drug, lab, and diagnosis components. Right now I have the free Epocrates RX which got me through nursing school and there is a free continuing education software that you can download also. I love my PDA, I have the nursing stuff on it but you can put games, pictures, videos and surf the internet with WiFi. I have a palm TX and it cost $299.00. I also have downloaded some of the freeware such as Palm EKG, which goes through all of the dysrythmias. I am an admitted gadget freak, though, so I may be biased!
    Last edit by ortess1971 on Aug 13, '06
  11. by   Cardiac-RN
    I use mine every day at work, and often other staff members will ask me to look stuff up for them too. I have a drug book, medical dictionary, ekg program, nursing procedures program, patho program and dx test program, among other things. Love it.
  12. by   rn2md2b
    There are so many programs for palms that it is almost impossible to use them all. For work I've found skyscape programs the best. Programs such as Tabers Dictionary, drug guides, patho reference books, and lab manuals makes understanding patient info easier. The programs cost almost the same as the hardcovers and they are right at your finger tips. For personal use my palm is my life. The calender has alarms, notepad makes the many papers I stuff in my pocket obsolete, and the address book is vital for my everyday life. The prices for them hasn't changed at all over the years but I've heard of friends finding them on ebay pretty cheap. They're not for everyone but have truely made my life a lot more organized. Beats lugging around 5 or 6 nursing books each shift.
  13. by   traumaRUs
    I use mine daily. I use the Epocrates Pro (because it has dosing info in it) paid $99 for it. When I worked in ER, I purchased the ER Suite and loved it too: it had peds doses, a preg wheel, RSI (rapid sequence intubation) meds, burn calculations, pressor support calculations, etc. It was well worth it.

    I have a Palm Tungsten E (a little old, but still very usable).
  14. by   MickyB-RN
    Quote from RNsRWe
    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 first year in the Real World, and I have a gift offer of a Palm Pilot or other device of my choosing. I know I can put drug book info on it (easy to carry, always up to date) but what else do you--whoever uses them--use them for?

    Do you find it's a toy you can live without, or does it make your work easier? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
    Oh good thread. I have a Dell Axim X50V and only ever used it during clinicals maybe 3 days total.

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