Undergraduate nursing students found using iPads as personal digital assistants in a clinical setting can be an important tool in improving the quality of care delivered, according to a pilot study.
The study, which is titled “Traditional versus electronic resources for students in clinical nurse courses: A pilot study,” appeared in the spring 2015 issue of the Online Journal of Nursing Informatics.
Geri W. Beers, EdD, RN, CNE, and Cynthia Gurdak Berry, DNP, RN, CNE, professors at the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing, Samford University, Birmingham, Ala., led the study, which compared the perceptions of students who use traditional, paper-based resources with those who use electronic resources in a clinical setting.
A total of 160 undergraduate nursing students enrolled in adult clinical nursing courses at a Southeastern university were invited to participate in the study. About 75% of the students were ages 21-22.
One half of the students in each of the courses used an iPad as a personal digitial assistant and the other half used traditional written resources.
At the end of the semester, students involved in the study were given a questionnaire, which 98 students completed.
The questionnaire contained both open-ended questions and three-point Likert Scale questions designed specifically to obtain information on the students’ perceptions of using a PDA or iPad versus traditional, written resources for obtaining information during clinical experiences.
The students used the electronic devices to locate information about new medications, disease specific information, applicable evidence-based practice guidelines, and other information needed to provide safe, effective patient care. Students did not record any patient information on the iPad devices.
Students found the iPads to be “effective in meeting their needs, accessible and an important resource to improve the quality of the care delivered,” acccording to the study.
“As students of all ages and backgrounds become more comfortable with acquiring information at the point of care using a mobile device, patient satisfaction and safety may be positively affected as students will have more time to effectively manage care,” the study’s authors wrote. “The continued study of different PDAs and other devices for bedside acquisition of information will allow schools of nursing to make decisions on which device is appropriate for use in their program.”