Usefulness of Personal Digital Assistants (PDA) in Nursing Skills Competency Assessments

Tuesday, 13 July 2010: 4:05 PM

Geok Mui Koh, RN, BN, PGDip
Lee Sung Tang, RN, BN, AdvDip
Chau Chain Yan, RN, BN
Tina Soo, RN, BN, PGDip, AdvDip
Siti Muslehat, RN, BN, ANS, MHSM
Chiew Hun Phang, BSc, PhD
School of Health Sciences, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore, Singapore

Learning Objective 1: have an overview of the use of PDAs in the training of Nursing students in Ngee Ann Polytechnic, School of Health Sciences, Singapore.

Learning Objective 2: learn the usefulness of PDA in Nursing Skills Assessment competency.

Purpose: The Diploma in Health Sciences (Nursing) course at Ngee Ann Polytechnic aims to deliver a high quality learning experience that prepares its students to function as healthcare professionals. The Ngee Ann Polytechnic Augmented Learning Media (NPALM) project uses Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) for training of nursing students. It had a successful pilot run with 150 students in 2007.  NPALM has been fully implemented since 2008.

Methods: NPALM Nursing Assessment is a proprietary Pocket PC applications developed in-house to efficiently manage students’ learning and skills competency at Clinical Attachment (CA). The NPALM Nursing Assessment consists of 3 major components of an electronic logbook, an electronic learning journal and a bank of multiple choice test questions (pre-test). A survey of 417 students on the usefulness of the PDAs in nursing skills competency assessments was conducted between May to August 2009.

Results: The elogbook for nursing education is a first in Asia. The design took into consideration security feature and user-friendliness. It allows electronic capture of preceptors’ signature via password access when students achieve different levels of competency. The information can be synchronized onto a server wirelessly to allow real-time distant monitoring of students’ progress by academic staff. There is an automatic update (in percentage) of completed assessments. A print-out of the information can be done. The pre-test is activated by preceptors to test knowledge of students prior to them performing skills on patients. The elearning journal is for students to record events and activities during the CA to be uploaded to the server too for remote access by staff.
Conclusion: Survey findings had been very positive with respondents (92.9%) indicating that the NPALM Nursing Assessment was useful. The other data confirms that the PDA, with its other features, has revolutionized nursing training and education at clinical settings and also increased work productivity.