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Abstract

A rapid development of information technologies influences every area and aspect of our life. Information is the most valuable resource today. Quick access to the appropriate information is vital in several areas, including medical care. Using personal digital assistants (PDAs) in nursing is an important issue. This paper explores the role of PDAs in the nursing practice. Introduction presents the concept of PDAs' usage in this area. Such topics as advantages/disadvantages and promotion of health or safety and economic factors and influence on nursing practice are discovered. Conclusions are presented in order to reflect the author`s understanding of the subject and point out main ideas of PDAs' usage in nursing practice.

Policy Formation Essay

The importance of quick access to the information for nurses cannot be overvalued. The nursing profession is a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills aimed to provide efficient help in a timely manner. PDAs play an important role in this process (Johnson, 2008). Nurse can find the most updated information regarding various issues, using the Internet, make appropriate notes in patient's medical record and order necessary treatment or drugs from the bedside. There is no need to get access to the stationary computer and lose precious time. PDA is a necessary tool for any nurse (White, Allen, Goodwin, Breckinridge, Dowell, & Garvy, 2005).

According to Johnson (2008), the advantages of PDAs in everyday work of any nurse are obvious. The most important are:

  • Instant access to the updated information, which cannot be provided by paper textbooks or manuals.
  • Time savings: there is no need to wait for an access to the computer at the nurses' station to get information.
  • Increased productivity of work since a nurse is able to search medical information, add new data to the patient's medical record and have access to the medical facility network and to the Internet right from the bedside.

The following disadvantages of PDAs' implementation are not crucial, but can affect the current situation (Johnson, 2008):

  • Lack of understanding from colleagues and doctors: people just do not understand the advantages of these devices.
  • Lack of trained personnel that is able to use PDAs appropriately.
  • Limitations caused by the device's design such as small screen, battery life and limited resources.

Despite current disadvantages, PDAs can greatly improve the quality of health care. Nurses - as the medical stuff that are always first at the patient's bad side - are able to react quicker to the emergencies. Thus, the usage of PDAs in nurse's work can provide more safety to patients in a matter of quicker and more qualified first help if something unexpected happens with a patient's condition.

The economic factors that can be outlined in the process of PDA's implementation are as follows:

  • The cost of the devices and software used for the everyday nursing practice. Modern devices have functionality close to laptops; however, the current price for PDAs does not differ greatly from the price of smartphones or hi-end mobile phones.
  • Courses for the nurses training for they could use these devices in full. These expenses are inevitable, especially for older generations of nurses. Young people grow up in the era of information and are able to master any modern achievements of the era of technology faster and easier.

These expenses are necessary to make PDAs usage a common thing for the nursing practice. Nevertheless, the influence on the nursing practice is much greater in a matter of improved quality of medical care and convenience of everyday activities for nurses. They will be able to perform their duties more efficiently. Thus, nurses will spend more time on learning new information and medical materials. PDAs can give an opportunity to help patients quicker and with a higher level of competence (George & Davidson, 2005).

Nurses can become far more efficient, using these devices in their everyday practice. Their place of work is near the patients; therefore, they can be even more useful than doctors in situations that require immediate response to emergencies. The implementation of PDAs is economically justified, despite the increased expenses on technical equipment and training of personnel. Personnel that are more qualified are more efficient and money plays only a secondary role in a matter of providing quality healthcare services (George & Davidson, 2005).

PDAs' usage in nursing can be one of the very important steps on the road to highly efficient and qualified medical help. Doctors with all their experience and knowledge cannot be all the time near the patient's bed to give help if necessary. Nurses do this job, and since they have to find exits in various situations, they must be ready for any emergency. They should be ready to provide help in all aspects of the current situation. That is why nurses must have constant access to all sources of information that can aid in crucial moments.

PDA is a very useful and important tool for nurse. All benefits and flaws of such tool are defined above. However, overall implementation of these devices in medical facilities should be supported on all levels, from government to individuals because PDAs help keep us healthier.

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