Shands Team Creates Nursing Education Application for Smartphones

Hands holding iPhoneGAINESVILLE, Fla. (Dec. 9, 2010)— For years, Shands at the University of Florida nurses have utilized quick-reference pocket guides to access medical information when caring for patients at the bedside. Now there’s an app for that.

Two Shands at UF critical care nurses have created a nursing education application for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It is targeted for use by critical care nurses who provide post-operative pediatric congenital cardiac care. This digital reference tool provides evidence-based data specific to infants and children who have had heart surgery. The information is cited and culled from multiple references in nursing journal articles, textbooks and websites. End-users can search, bookmark and add notes to the content.

The nurses created this app in collaboration with the Shands HealthCare Center of Nursing Innovation. The Center’s purpose is to promote and develop innovative pilot programs that improve nursing and patient care. Nurses in the academic health care setting are encouraged to be innovative and share their considerable expertise.

“We wanted to take a new approach to our traditional pocket references that would provide instant access to patient care information,” said Lynn Westhoff, M.S.N., M.H.A., R.N., Shands at UF Surgical Intensive Care Unit clinical leader and a co-creator of the app. “Many of our nurses use smartphones, so we wanted to capitalize on that technology to create an innovative, easy-to-use electronic reference.”

Westhoff worked with Michael Maymi, B.S.N., R.N., C.C.R.N., Shands Children’s Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care clinical leader, to brainstorm ideas for the app. They presented a business proposal to the Center of Nursing Innovation team members Rose Rivers, Ph.D., R.N., N.E.A.-B.C., D.P.N.A.P., Shands HealthCare chief nursing officer; Ginger Pesata, M.S.N., A.R.N.P., D.P.N.A.P., Shands at UF Nursing professional practice administrative director; and Jonathan “Tre” Dixon III, Shands Jacksonville Legal Services senior attorney. The team hired a software company, Denver-based Rage Digital Inc., to design the app and Westhoff and Maymi provided the content and illustrations.

As a bedside educator for Shands critical care nurses, Maymi had developed and field-tested a paperback pocket reference on post-operative pediatric congenital cardiac care. He served as an expert source for the app’s digital content.

The app is currently available for $9.99 via the Apple Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Money raised from the sale of the application will go towards nursing education, research and professional development at Shands HealthCare through the Center of Nursing Innovation.

Maymi and Westhoff hope it is the first of many Shands-branded smartphone apps developed by Shands’ expert nursing staff.

“We are encouraging our nursing colleagues to step forward if they have any ideas for applications,” Maymi said. “So bring us your apps! We are very fortunate that we work at a place where our ideas can be realized.”

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