We generally do not think about medical professionals while discussing gadgets, but they often use some of the most sophisticated gadgets invented in their line of work. As for regular electronics and less high-tech devices, they too are just as useful for nurses as they are for anyone else. Let’s now focus on some of the ways in which modern electronic gadgets and the associated digital technology are helping nursing professionals to succeed.
A Decent Laptop
Smartphones have come a long way, but they cannot replace laptops. Nursing students need a laptop to study, and so do professional nurses who are studying online in their free time. For example, all accelerated BSN online programs from Baylor University are specifically designed for working registered nurses (RN) only. RNs can access their coursework via smartphones and tablets, of course, but the advantage of typing with a physical keyboard or using a mouse to navigate on a bigger, more legible display is too significant to ignore.
Both Macs and Windows laptops are sufficiently equipped, so the choice here should be made based on the user’s personal preferences and experiences. Windows laptops might be a better option for nurses if they wish to use their laptop’s display as a notepad for taking notes during online classes. None of the MacBooks presently have a touchscreen to support that, but quite a few laptop PCs support this feature with dedicated apps.
The Digital Notepad
There are different types of digital notepads available today, varying in terms of size, capacity, quality, third-party support, functions, etc. Wearables are the current favorites among nurses because of the lightweight portability they offer. Alternatively, more traditional, bigger digital notepads will provide a wider, comfier writing experience, but they are nowhere near as convenient to use on the move. Wearable digital notepads look somewhat similar to an oversized smartwatch with a touchscreen, and they are also worn in the same way.
Once clamped onto the wrist opposite to one’s writing hand, the wrist pad can then be used to take quick notes about patients, doctor’s directions, the day’s pending tasks, or anything else of importance. Most also sport additional features such as reminder setting, alarm setting, task setting, etc. Whichever a product is chosen, it should come with a compatible pen inside the box, but there are plenty of third-party options that provide better grips and an improved writing/doodling experience. Both nursing students and professional nurses will find the portable wrist pad to be of immense help in their line of work.
Universal Drawing Pens
Universal drawing pens from the likes of Wacom, XP-Pen, and other manufacturers deserve a separate mention on this list. They can turn any (non-Apple) smartphone, tablet, or even touchscreen laptop into digital notepads. There is a wide range of options to select from but buying an expensive model just for notetaking is unnecessary. It makes more sense for nurses to buy a cheaper variant with wide support for touchscreens and good battery life, rather than wasting money on pressure-sensitive pens designed for digital artists.
Google Keep (any notetaking application that supports handwriting will do) is a free notepad app that supports handwriting, and it has a few additional nifty features to facilitate easy note-taking. The combination of a good app and a decent pen can make daily task management, classwork, and notetaking a lot easier for nurses.
Digital Voice Recorders
Voice recorders were just as useful earlier for medical professionals and students, as they are today. Taking notes with a pen (or a keyboard) can never be as fast, or as accurate as recording them. The same goes for recording thoughts, potential questions, ideas, concerns, etc. Speed is always of the essence in any medical field, so digital voice recorders are irreplaceable in that regard.
A case can be made for smartphones, but phones generally do not have excellent microphones. Also, recording thoughts, lectures, doctor’s instructions, reminders, etc. with a smartphone is just not as convenient or quick. Dedicated, digital voice recorders have excellent microphones, huge storage capacities, and it is more convenient to use a dedicated recording device for professional/educational purposes.
Nurses pursuing higher education, and future nurses in training can benefit by investing in an e-Reader. Displays on smartphones, tablets, and laptops flicker (60Hz – 144Hz normally), emit bright blue light and heat, leading to eyestrain. A dedicated e-Reader such as the Kindle paperwhite has none of those issues, as they do not emit background light at all. This makes them ideal for reading textbooks and notes for hours at a stretch, without getting a headache or experiencing eye fatigue. It can make a huge difference if students are able to study longer without losing effectiveness. The nursing profession does involve reading a lot, so the benefits are obvious here. Additionally, digital textbooks are generally sold at a cheaper rate to students.
Vein finders are medical assistance devices, designed to help nurses find, pinch, and (optional) close veins quickly. When multiple patients are waiting in line on a busy day, the vein finder can help save a lot of time for both parties. They create and project an optical image of the patient’s internal venous system around the location in real-time, so intravenous injections and sample collections take only seconds to complete.
Pediatric nurses will appreciate the vein finder more than others since children often move around too much due to a common fear of needles. Their fearful movements make it difficult and somewhat dangerous to perform venous procedures quickly. Modern vein finders accommodate quite a bit of patient movement, mitigating risks and speeding up the process.
This concludes our small list, but it can always be expanded further. Cutting-edge medical equipment was kept out of the list as it is more suited for clinics rather than individual professionals. Some of the devices mentioned here are likely gadgets that most nurses already own, but now they know how to use them in more productive and relevant ways.