In the recent past, mobile computing devices (formerly referred to as personal digital assistants or PDAs), were optional in the workplace and in higher education. Now the fast pace of practicing in health care is affording nurses little time to step away form the bedside to look up references.

   I gave up carrying multiple print references a decade ago when I purchased my first PDA. There were fewer options, but they were adequate at the time. For one thing, the references were all text-based and I had to pay for them myself. It was worth every penny to me as I managed a busy clinical patient load, providing staff education, managing projects, and juggling my personal life. Still there are many nurses who are not using mobile technology to support their nursing practice. 

  I commend nurse leaders and educators who have pioneered the adoption of mobile computing to help keep current information in the nurses' hands. Examples of some universities that provide resources to students include Drexel Univesity College of Nursing and Health Professions which provided iPod Touches to 300 nursing students. At University of Virginia, all students are required to own a mobile computing device, and the library provides support and training on using mobile reference software. At Ohio State University, the BSN and graduate students are not only required to use mobile devices, they are required to install and use specific software. School is a safe and supportive place to learn how to use mobile software, so if you are going back to earn a higher degree, you may want to research the mobile computing resources and support that is available. 

   Numerous references include evidence-based plans of care, drug information, drug calculators, and disease information. Therefore, acquiring the skills in using mobile references will help you to manage your time better, to make better clinical decisions, and to provide safer care.