The iPad Mini Experience in Clinical Settings

In response to the increasing use of tablet-sized electronic devices by students across the country, and, in particular, nursing students, a volunteer group of faculty took iPad Minis with them to their clinical settings this semester. The thought was to raise awareness among faculty of what many students already know. What are the uses and possibilities for inadvertent abuse of tablets in general, or the iPad mini in particular, when it comes to the clinical setting? Early word has come back to the team that organized this pilot effort: Margaret Hill, Alan McKendree, Peter Hancock, Scott Hudson, and Gayle Timmerman.

Five of the initial thirteen users had positive results from use of the iPad Mini or, in a few cases, the slightly larger iPad. Other faculty have used Android-based devices this semester with equal success, while some will await their personal purchase of the Microsoft tablet known as the Surface. Information was recently shared at the first of what will become monthly user group meetings. Here are some results and some trends to watch.

All faculty mentioned the lightweight, lab-coat-pocket sized nature of the Mini as creating great usability in the clinical setting. Some ideas for ensuring security and for maintaining cleanliness in clinical situations were shared. It was noted that our three “super users” at the school, Scott Hudson and Meredith Granholm of the Skills and Simulations Lab, and Mandy Deen of the Learning Center, were able to assist faculty to begin use of the Mini devices and to ensure that security measures were followed. Margaret Hill maintains sufficient data to assist in case of a device that would need to be disabled because of loss or severe damage or the like. For those who want to venture into the land of the tablet, Scott, Meredith, and Mandy are here to assist during business hours throughout the year.

What’s new on the horizon? The school will be providing a few reserve books, such as the Dummies series, for tablet users. These can be checked out from the Learning Center beginning in the summer. There are also plans or pilot use of a very small, inexpensive, and lightweight portable pocket projector for use in post-conferences. Visualize what could be done when one projects a large map-sized photo of peripheral vascular circulation on the wall of a hospital conference room so that students might clearly visualize or, in another case, a chest film from a chapter in a textbook that would be describing COPD. Some of the products being considered are the Pico Projector and another product that will project up to 80-inch displays on the post-conference wall or any other convenient setting. One can see a need to pre-test uses to be sure that there would never be privacy issues or other disturbing outcomes from this new world of learning devices.

To finish this first Web Log (the formal name of a BLOG), here are names of some handy applications. The On Live desktop application that can be downloaded from the Apple on-line application store can provide a typical Microsoft/PC computer access screen from which those who are more used to the look of a Microsoft Windows type of screen can formulate Word documents, Power Point presentations, and access e-mails.

Next time, we’ll discuss the Sharkk and the ZIO keypad for use in typing with small handheld devices and the fabulous Photon browser from Apple. We’ll also have some of our in-house Android product users describe some of the differences so that our readers who are interested in buying the various products will be able to choose purchases that fit needs.

– Corinne Grimes, PhD, RN, Director of Learning Center

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Posted in Mobile Computing, Teaching and Learning
2 comments on “The iPad Mini Experience in Clinical Settings
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