The use of Personal Digital Assistants in Nursing Education

The use of Personal Digital Assistants in Nursing Education

Nina Godson (Coventry University, UK) and Adrian Bromage (Coventry University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-889-0.ch026
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Abstract

The use of Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and smartphones (combined mobile telephone and PDA) in Nurse Education is a relatively new development, in its infancy. The use of mobile technologies by health care professionals is increasing, and it seems likely to accelerate, as mobile information and communication technologies become more ubiquitous in wider society. The chapter reports on a small-scale feasibility study to evaluate the practicalities of supporting student nurses on their first clinical placements with PDAs that have been pre-loaded with reusable e-learning objects. The student nurses generally found the PDA easy to use and carry on their person, valued the availability of the reusable e-learning object on their clinical placements and called for more of them to be made available to learners.
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Background

In the mid-1990’s the World Wide Web radically changed the possibilities of our information landscape, and simultaneously became available to users of pocket-sized hand held computing devices such as Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) (Murphy 2005). Even so, the use of PDAs in nursing was rare until comparatively recently. The Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) has had a subject heading for PDAs (“Computers, Hand-Held”) since 1997, while the National Library of Medicine first used the term “Computers, Handheld” in the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) in 2003.

Discussions in the early articles focused on theories of informatics and technology. More recent articles indicate that PDAs are in wider use (De Groote, 2004), for example in nursing practice and student education. Interestingly, the Medical professions have written most of the literature on PDA use in health care, and it is clear that as a group they are very interested in this. Members of other health care disciplines also demonstrate interest in using PDAs (De Groote, 2004). The integration of personal digital assistants (PDAs) into health care delivery continues to grow; and health professionals are adopting PDAs faster than the general public (Stolworthy et al., 2000).

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