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300 Drexel Nursing Students Trade their Textbooks for iPods

September 25, 2009

More than 300 students in Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions received iPod touch devices on their first day of classes as part of a new initiative to make critical medical information available at the touch of a finger, Dr. Gloria Donnelly, dean of CoNHP announced. The students joined University officials September 21 to learn about the devices and celebrate the technological upgrade.

The iPods are populated with valuable medical information that includes drug data, nursing procedure guides, drug side effects and software to enable digital note-taking. The four-ounce iPods replace many of the existing and thick nursing textbooks and, with the devices configured for wireless Internet, automatically update medical information.

iPod touch is a pocket computer that enables access to Apple’s revolutionary App Store, the web, e-mail and more on a 3.5-inch “Multi-Touch” display perfect for mobile learning.

With built-in Wi-Fi, much of what can be accomplished online with a computer can be done with an iPod touch. In the case of Drexel’s nursing college students, perhaps just 10 years ago, it may have taken up to an hour to research the pertinent information now stored on the iPod touch and accessible in seconds.

“Whether students are searching for drug interactions during a clinical exercise or information in a medical dictionary, they can go online and find the latest research through numerous databases,” said Dr. L. J. “Rocky” Rockstraw, director of Drexel’s Center for Clinical & Electronic Learning Resources and an associate clinical professor at the College of Nursing and Health Professions.

Medical mistakes made at the point of care, including drug conflicts and incorrect nursing procedures, are a leading cause of preventable death in hospitals, making the need for updated, handheld information all the more critical, according to Rockstraw.

The iPod touch devices will be configured to automatically download the latest drug information using Drexel’s DragonFly wireless network. This will ensure students have the latest drug information, including newly discovered side effects and industry alerts.

Drexel’s nursing college consistently receives National Council Licensure Examination scores above state averages. Part of this success is a result of the program’s focus on using information technology to inform students on procedures and patient care.

The College of Nursing and Health Professions began using Pocket PC handheld devices in 2001 to access drug and medical databases. However, the infrastructure required to support those devices was difficult to maintain in a fast-paced academic and clinical environment. Students were regularly required to update their Pocket PCs through their computers and applications were often hard to install. The iPod touch was selected because of its ease of use and available technical support.

Drexel was the first university to require all incoming students to have a computer, in 1983, and the first university to provide free voice-recognition software to its 17,000 students, in 2000. Drexel was also the first university to launch a mobile Web-portal service for students, DrexelOne Mobile, in 2002. DrexelOne Mobile enables students to retrieve a range of information such as grades via virtually any Web-enabled handheld device.


News Media Contact:

Noah Cohen, Office of University Relations 215-895-2705, 267-228-5599 (cell) or

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