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Clinical reasoning, Handheld computers, Personal digital assistants





The utility of personal digital assistant resources in healthcare practice and education presents new challenges for faculty due to changing device capabilities and software availability. Although there is a plethora of personal digital assistant resources available for use by healthcare providers, little is known about the effect on clinical reasoning in nursing students. The complexity of the healthcare arena precludes reliance on memory as a sole resource for problem solving because it can be unreliable. A personal digital assistant provides instant access to information on medical treatment options so reliance on memory alone is avoided. The aims of this study are to assess clinical reasoning when personal digital assistants are used as an information resource for nursing students. These findings have implications for the future nursing work force, including accurate differential diagnosis and diagnostic reasoning, reduction of medication errors, reduction of healthcare costs, and development of effective treatment protocols.