June 29, 2010

How iPhone 4 Affects Nursing Education

The iPhone and iPod Touch have now been available with downloadable healthcare software for two years. The number of applications of interest to nursing faculty has expanded to nearly 1000 applications (out of the over 200,000 applications) in the Apple App Store. Apple has now combined the operating system for iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touches into the iOS. This will help developers create software for all the devices, all of which have nursing education implications.

The introduction of the iPhone 4 adds to the versatility of the Apple devices in education. The biggest change to the phone from an educators perspective is the much improved display. The iPhone 4 has the twice the resolution of the old phone. It is now much easier to read even very tiny text on the screen. For nursing educators this means students can read health-related texts and web pages with much more ease. The free iBooks app allows the importation of pdf files. Faculty could distribute course syllabi, class notes, or supplemental readings in an easily transportable form.

In addition to the great display the iPhone 4 has improved still and video camera capability, a front facing camera for video chat, and a much faster processor. I recommend you get a demonstration of the new phone if you are in the market. I predict that Apple will also be updating their iPod Touch in the coming months to take advantage of the display and processing improvements. All the more reason to consider adding a handheld computer to the nursing curriculum.