March 25, 2010

5 Must Haves for Apple iPad Nursing e-books

With release of the Apple iPad around the corner there have yet been any announcements about the availability of nursing texts. The iPad has great potential as a replacement for paper textbooks, but iPad nursing texts need to be more than electronic versions of the old. Here are some features that publishers need to include to make e-reader books better learning tools for nursing students:
1. Hypertext within the book. Keywords and links to other portions of the text would enable the reader to jump around the book and find the other relevant sections with ease. For example, in a section on care of a patient in a cast could link to another section on neurovascular assessment. Additionally, every word in the index should link to the respective section.

2. Large images. Currently, images in textbooks are limited in size due to space limitations. E-Books have no space limitations. Images should be enlargeable to the size of the e-reader screen. This would allow students to get much better images to study. Thinks of the detail for skin conditions, retinas, or cell images.

3. Embedded video. Textbooks have been limited to still images, until now. Procedures, communication examples, or animated processes should be embedded within the text.

4. Relevant Internet Links. While recent texts have included websites, e-books can actually link to those sites. The Apple iPad has Wi-Fi or, in some models, 3G network access. Nursing students should be able to instantly visit any sites listed. Links could also go to data that changes frequently such as daily morbidity statistics.

5. Embedded audio. Like images and video there are also sounds such as lung, heart, and bowel sounds that could be included. Additionally, image great lecturers including audio to help students learn difficult subjects.

It is time for nursing publishers, and nurse authors, to begin to think "outside the covers". What other things do you think nursing e-books should have?

March 18, 2010

Clinical guidelines for use of electronic devices

Any of you teaching clinical have seen that nearly every student comes to clinical with at least a cell phone. Many now have iPhones or Blackberry devices loaded with clinical software. It has long been standard practice that students are not to engage in personal business while functioning as a nursing student in the clinical setting. New technologies now obligate nursing faculty to be more explicit in directing the proper use of these devices.

Some agencies and nursing schools have proposed banning mobile devices altogether. This is unwise as important clinical software is now available for these devices. Faculty should be encouraging the use of new technologies and applying the latest information when conducting patient care.

Here are some guidelines to establish with students. These should be put into your syllabus to clarify your expectations:

1. Protect patient privacy: Students may not use cameras to take pictures of patients. Healthcare data that identifies a patient is not to be removed, or transmitted, from the clinical site. Lab values and other assessments can be stored as long as no patient names or identifying numbers are connected to the data.

2. Professional conduct: Students are not permitted to engage in personal business while performing as a clinical student without faculty permission. This includes voice calls, texting, or Internet browsing for nonclinical information.