Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

TEXTBOOKS ON TAP: Using Electronic Books Housed in Handheld Devices in Nursing Clinical Courses

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

TEXTBOOKS ON TAP: Using Electronic Books Housed in Handheld Devices in Nursing Clinical Courses

Article excerpt



Changing technology is creating new ways to approach nursing education and practice. Beginning in 2003, using a quasi-experimental design, this project introduced personal digital assistants (PDAs) as a clinical tool to five experimental and control groups of students and faculty. The handheld device, or PDA, was loaded with e-books for clinical practice. Differences in learning styles and preferences emerged during the different phases of the study. Students were quickly able to master the technology and use the device effectively, reporting that they liked the concise nature of the information obtained. No students expressed dissatisfaction or regret at being in the experimental group. Results and implications for clinical practice, education, and library resources are discussed.

AN INFORMATION EXPLOSION AND A PUSH TO USE CURRENT EVIDENCE TO GUIDE PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE HAVE LED TO THE USE OF A VARIETY OF LEARNING tools in nursing practice and education. But technology developments tend to dictate use. Librarians, educators, and information system personnel often introduce tools without a systematic study of the perceptions of students and other end users. FURTHER, significant resources and funds are often committed without study of the effectiveness of new technologies. * This study was led by the college's professional librarian to explore students' preferences as well as the effectiveness of electronic information technology before resources were committed. The purpose was twofold: a) to examine baccalaureate students' existing information retrieval practices, and b) to explore their perceptions regarding the use of electronic books (e-books) housed in a handheld computer (personal digital assistant, or PDA). * Nursing students learn to use different types of reference materials and resources to prepare for practice and during practice. Handheld devices (PDAs) are a new resource that can be used for many tasks, this study focused on the use of electronic reference books (E-BOOKS) HOUSED IN PDAs, THE ROLE OF PDAs IN ACADEMIC LIBRARY SERVICES, AND HOW PDAs ARE USED IN CLINICAL INSTRUCTION BY STUDENTS AT THE BEDSIDE.

Literature Review Medline and CINAHL searches revealed a number of citations indicating increased interest on the topic of handheld devices. But when the key words handheld and nursing education were combined, the literature revealed a disappointingly small number of articles.

Because patient data information can be kept on the PDA and transferred to another device, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy concerns are an important consideration and may pose barriers to adopting this technology (DeViIIe, 2001; Goss & Carrico, 2002; Howard, 2003; Huffstutler, Wyatt, & Wright, 2002; Lewis & Sommers, 2003; Peters, Dorsch, Bell, & Burnette, 2003). However, Thompson reported in 2005 that using clinical reference books on a handheld device is not a HIPAA violation.

Sixty percent of respondents to a survey conducted by a Nursing PDA listserv indicated that PDA usage in nursing education was very important (RNs are mobilizing, 2003). PDA projects with nursing students at various levels have been undertaken at several colleges and universities (Glasgow & Cornelius, 2005; Hufstutler et al., 2002; Miller et al., 2005; Scollin, Callahan, Mehta, & Garcia, 2006; White et al., 2005).

Little research was found on the use of electronic books by undergraduate BSN students. Perhaps one issue delaying implementation was lack of funding. Smith and Pattrillo (2006) reported on a grant -funded survey of schools of nursing: 68 percent required students to purchase their own handheld devices. Korte (2006) reported on a grant-funded project to put electronic resources in students' hands at the bedside.

McCartney (2004) reported increased interest in handheld computers in nursing education but cited no studies. …

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