Vanderbilt SoN Selects Skyscape References

HUDSON, Mass. - September 22, 2003 - Skyscape, Inc., today announced that the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing has selected its handheld references for use in the school’s Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program.

“Having mobile versions of the same trusted textbooks I would normally assign to my students is extremely advantageous. And with Skyscape’s technology combined with the student discount program, the PDA references provide more value," said Renee McLeod, program director, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. "Skyscape’s technology enables my students to seamlessly smARTlink from the Five Minute Pediatric Clinical Consult to Stedman’s Dictionary or A2Z Drugs, whether in an ‘open-PDA’ exam or in their clinical site. A PDA loaded with Skyscape solutions is a valuable tool that supports the learning process now and will reinforce diagnostic and prescription decisions in the future.”

Additionally, Vanderbilt is taking mobility to a new level with its Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Program. This modified distance learning program allows the students and the instructor to travel to the university from their homes across the United States and meet for approximately one week per month for classes. All other instruction is online, and students can perform their clinical work at a location where they live. Palm Tungsten C or other Palm OS devices, loaded with several Skyscape references are being used by the students to develop an evidence-based practice.

In addition, Dr. McLeod along with Marilyn Hall from San Diego State University were recently granted funding from the National Library of Medicine to examine the way school nurses access and use electronic digital data on the Internet and on their PDAs. A large part of this study involves teaching these nurses how to access the Internet and use their PDAs and medical reference software effectively. The results of this yearlong study titled, “Clinical Effectiveness Using Handheld Technology” will be available in the fall of 2004. They also plan to apply for a larger grant to examine how nurse practitioners across the country access and use their PDAs and medical references on their PDA to decrease errors, save time and create an evidenced-base practice in their clinical area.

“Nurses who regularly travel between different locations, such as the more than 11,000 school nurses across the United States, have difficulty in accessing resources and support tools. Even carrying a laptop can be a struggle,” said McLeod. “Having a PDA with key references on it can really impact their work. It can be taken right to where the patient is for quick, accurate information.”

Benefits of PDAs in Healthcare Education

Research has shown that having critical information in context at the point-of-care helps students learn faster and reduces medical errors for all healthcare practitioners.

According to a July 2002 report by the Health Resources and Services Administration, 30 states were estimated to have shortages of registered nurses (RNs). The shortage is projected to intensify over the next two decades with 44 states expected to have RN shortages by the year 2020. The unique modified distance learning program at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing allows for the continued education of nurses through a flexible and future-thinking approach.

Today more than 20 percent of residency programs and many medical, nursing, pharmacy and physician assistant programs in the United States require their participants to use PDAs. Many provide their residents and students with a stipend with which to purchase software and tools for the PDAs. Now students and educators can quickly access nursing references on their handhelds to check symptoms, make diagnoses and prescribe drugs.

“Many enterprise organizations, such as Vanderbilt, are embracing PDAs as a way to bolster the skills and enhance the learning process of their students, and Skyscape expects many more to follow suit in the coming year,” said RJ Mathew, vice president marketing and business development for Skyscape.


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