Use of mobile handheld computers in clinical nursing education

J Nurs Educ. 2008 Jan;47(1):13-9. doi: 10.3928/01484834-20080101-03.


Personal digital assistants (PDAs) are increasingly in use in both clinical practice and nursing education as a method of providing timely access to resources at the point of care. This article describes the use of PDAs during the medical-surgical clinical component of a Bachelor of Nursing program in Australia. The aim of the study was to investigate whether PDAs would enhance students' pharmacological and clinical contextual knowledge and to identify issues associated with the use of PDAs in students' clinical experience. A mixed-method approach was used incorporating a quasi-experimental design with pretest and posttest of pharmacological knowledge and focus group discussions. Students using the PDAs demonstrated a moderate increase in their mean score, which was double the increase in the control group. Findings from the focus group discussions indicated that students found the PDAs easy to use and perceived their use as beneficial to their learning in the clinical area. This study provides support for the ongoing implementation of PDAs into nursing education.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Attitude to Computers*
  • Australia
  • Clinical Competence* / standards
  • Computer Literacy
  • Computer User Training
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction / methods*
  • Computers, Handheld / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Information Services
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate / methods*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / education
  • Male
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Perioperative Nursing / education
  • Pharmacology / education
  • Point-of-Care Systems
  • Qualitative Research
  • Students, Nursing / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires