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UCLA Nursing Students Add iPods to Training

Nursing students at the University of California, Los Angeles have added a new ritual to their move out of preclinical studies and into clinical health sciences. Traditionally, the students in the UCLA School of Nursing are donned in white coats as part of a transition ceremony. But the event in December 2010 added a new high-tech touch. Each also received an iPod touch.

"The robing of each student with a white coat signifies their journey from the classroom to the clinical setting," said Courtney Lyder, dean of the nursing school. "At the same time, we want to make sure that we provide them with the tools to be successful and prepare them for 21st-century health care."

A video on the school's Web site shows a member of the faculty announcing the new addition to the program to the gasps of surprise and applause of the 118 recipients. The school provided the iPod Touches to third-year undergraduate nursing students and first-year master's entry clinical nursing students.

The goal of providing the handheld device, the school said in a statement, was to improve the learning experience and give students flexible access to health care--related content. The combination media player-camera-video recorder-personal digital assistant with WiFi capabilities was loaded with mobile applications students will need in the classroom as well as an app to help them prepare for the nursing board examination.

"To have this knowledge at our fingertips is a phenomenal gift we've been given with this device," said Nathan Ball, a third-year bachelor of science student in nursing.

The apps include:

  • Nursing Central, a set of subscription resources and references from Unbound Medicine for assessment, diagnoses, and procedures.
  • Medical Spanish, a $4.99 audio app from Batoul Apps that translates English questions and phrases into Spanish to support Spanish-speaking patients.
  • NCLEX Review, to help students prepare for the California Nursing Board Examination to become licensed as registered nurses.

"We are at a major crossroad in redefining nursing education and delivery of care," Lyder said. "Taking care of patients is a tremendous responsibility. While we still encourage the traditional methods of diagnosis, there is an overwhelming amount of medical information available. Providing each student with new technology for use at the bedside can only improve patient safety and the delivery of care.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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