Sunday, November 13, 2005
This presentation is part of : Technology and Informatics
PDAs Bring Power to the Point-of-Care
Tanya K. Altmann, RN, MSN, Division of Nursing, California State University - Sacramento, Sacramento, CA, USA and Debra Brady, RN, MSN, Center for Nursing Research, UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, CA, USA.
Learning Objective #1: Summarize the benefits of using Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) in nusing education to provide optimal quality care in the clinical setting
Learning Objective #2: Generate methods to implement the use of PDAs in nursing curriculum

The ability of nursing faculty and nursing students to efficiently obtain accurate information at the point-of-care is a vital aspect of providing quality patient care. Personalized Digital Assistants (PDAs), one of the revolutionary forms of handheld technology, can provide instant access to entire textbooks of information. All of this can be accessed where it is needed most, in the dynamic learning environment of the clinical setting.

PDAs are ideally suited for facilitating student preparation in the clinical setting. Short patient hospitals stays and the rapid discharge of patients in acute care settings mean students need to be able to adapt quickly to changes in patient assignments. PDAs give students access to information needed to safely care for patients and maximize their clinical time, instead of searching for resources, or limiting their learning experience because they do not have adequate preparation to care for a patient with a different diagnosis. There is only minimal discussion in the nursing literature on the use of PDAs in nursing education or the most effective means by which to introduce this tool into a curriculum. A survey was conducted to determine the use of PDAs among faculty and students in our nursing program.

The most significant survey result was a large discrepancy in of use of PDAs between faculty and students. Additionally, the survey also identified common programs used by students and faculty, and factors motivating in the use of a PDA. Although students recognized the benefits of PDA use in the clinical setting, they did not want owning a PDA as a program requirement. The primary reason students cited for not owning a PDA was cost. We will discuss several approaches we have implemented to increase the use of this powerful tool into our curriculum, and to defray PDA purchase costs.