Empowering a safer practice: PDAs are integral tools for nursing and health care

J Nurs Manag. 2011 Apr;19(3):400-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2834.2011.01251.x.


Aim: This study's purpose was to assess the characteristics of personal digital assistant (PDA) uptake and use in both clinical and classroom work for baccalaureate student nurses (BSN) within a rural Texas university.

Background: Patient care has become more complicated, risk prone, automated and costly. Efficiencies at the bedside are needed to continue to provide safe and successful within this environment.

Method: Purposive sample of nursing students using PDAs throughout their educational processes, conducted at three campus sites. The initial sample size was 105 students, followed by 94 students at end of the first semester and 75 students at curriculum completion at the end of a 2-year period. Students completed structured and open-ended questions to assess their perspectives on PDA usage.

Results: Student uptake varied in relation to overall competency, with minimal to high utilization noted, and was influenced by the current product costs.

Conclusions: PDAs are developing into useful clinical tools by providing quick and important information for safer care.

Implications for nursing management: Using bedside PDAs effectively assists with maintaining patient safety, efficiency of care delivery and staff satisfaction. This study evaluates the initial implementation of PDAs by students, our future multitasking nurses.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence
  • Computers, Handheld*
  • Curriculum
  • Delphi Technique
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate*
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Patient Care / methods*
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Safety Management / methods*
  • Students, Nursing*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching
  • Texas
  • Young Adult