May 3, 2010

One Month as a Nurse Educator with an iPad

One month ago I stood in line to pick up my reserved 16-gig WiFi iPad. So what is the state of the iPad as it pertains to nursing education? How does it compare clinically and educationally to the iPhone? I have taken both the iPad and the 3G iPhone to my clinical site, and the University where I work, and found that each has its advantages and disadvantages. Here they are:

Internet Access: Winner- iPad. As long as you are within WiFi, and I am at the hospital, the University, and most other public places I visit, the Internet browsing experience is much faster and easier to use than on an iPhone. I have long been unable to use Flash on the iPhone and it hasn't made much difference in my browsing.

E-Mail: Winner- iPad. The mail application is especially nice in the landscape mode. I can see my e-mail accounts, easily and quickly open messages, and manage those messages much faster than on the iPhone.

Reading: Winner- iPad. I never owned an e-reader such as a Kindle so reading e-books has been a new experience. So far I love it. The ability to change font size, bookmark, and see full color illustrations has been very helpful. I am reading more now than before as I can quickly read a few pages without having to carry every book.

Clinical Applications: Winner- iPhone. While the iPad's size makes for easy viewing it is also too big to carry around in an inpatient hospital setting. The iPad doesn't fit in a scrub pocket or lab coat so that means carrying around with my other papers. Another issue is that there are few clinical apps so far that take advantage of the iPad's features. Most of my iPad apps are just iPhone apps at 2X size. The iPhone is still the fastest way to quickly find clinical information. On the other hand, finding and reading a journal article is far better on the iPad.

So my final grade for the iPad is: Incomplete but showing great potential. It does a lot of things very well right now. When nursing textbooks designed for the iPad become available it will really make the use of paper texts a thing of the past. We also need to see clinical applications that can really take advantage of the larger screen.

5 comments:

Newman said...

Hi Dr. Thompson,

Great post. I work with a group of Nurse Educators in North Carolina and we are testing out the iPad. We've purchased two iPads and are lending them to the faculty and staff in order to get their feedback.

I've bookmarked your article in our Diigo group: http://groups.diigo.com/group/nursing-educational-technologies

Take a look and consider joining the group.

Thanks for all your good work!
Newman

Justin Allen said...

I have to say as a non-traditional student just entering my first summer of Nursing school (in North Carolina), the publishers and current providers of Nursing applications just do not understand the technology or how it pertains to a student environment yet.

I am sincerely hoping that someone with some foresight gets an opportunity to drive some of these programs. If I were not in an undergraduate program I would seriously look at some grants.

For example:

Utilizing the iPad with the optional keyboard is great for note taking (using Pages) however when a publisher makes you have a continuous internet connection in order to access the electronic version of the textbook...AND that textbook expires in a 6 month period...well that's a complete failure to understand your client base, and that a nursing program is a 2 year program.

When ATI mandates that you use silverlight in order to use their site...another issue for students using iPad's.

When Unbound only allows either the iPad or the iTouch to be used (from the same account) and the only way to use both devices (one at a time of course) is to pay for 2 Nursing Central accounts at $160.00 each...another example of how the publishing industry does not yet truly understand how these devices are used.

And this is just the last 2 weeks worth of issues. :)

I know that it is early in the game for this device, but those that cannot keep up with what's happening are doomed to fall by the wayside.

Justin Allen said...

I have to say as a non-traditional student just entering my first summer of Nursing school (in North Carolina), the publishers and current providers of Nursing applications just do not understand the technology or how it pertains in a student environment yet.

I am sincerely hoping that someone with some foresight gets an opportunity to drive some of these programs.

Utilizing the iPad with the optional keyboard is great for note taking (using Pages) however when a publisher makes you have a continuous internet connection in order to access the electronic version of the textbook...well that's a complete failure to understand your client base.

When ATI mandates that you use silverlight in order to use their site...another issue for students.

When Unbound only allows either the iPad or the iTouch to be used (from the same account) and the only way to use both devices (one at a time of course) is to pay for 2 Nursing Central accounts at $160.00 each...another example of how the publishing industry does not yet truly understand how these devices are used.

I know that it is early in the game for this device, but those that cannot keep up with what's happening are doomed to fall by the wayside.

Brent Thompson, PhD, RN said...

I suggest contacting Unbound Medicine with your comments. I know several of their people and they are very willing to listen to ideas like yours. The availability of medical reference apps is still very new for the iPad so there are going to be kinks.

robin said...

Justin has presented valid concerns about the use of the iPad for nursing courses and in the clinical setting. I am curious if he feels, as some of my students have stated, that the use of technology can be detracting from learning in the clinical setting. Some students have focused on entering data into the EMR so much so that patient care sometimes comes in second place. The ultimate question becomes are we utilizing tools or are they managing us?

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