This descriptive study replicates and extends previous research on advanced practice RNs and the (1) reference resources available to them at the point of care, (2) resources they use to inform their clinical practice, and (3) resources they are accessing from handheld electronic devices such as PDAs, smartphones, and tablet computers during practice. These elements formed the purpose of the current study. A sample of advanced practice RNs from Texas Public Health Region 11 was surveyed. Available resources were current journals appropriate to setting and current clinical guidelines. These advanced practice RNs “always or frequently” based their professional practice on personal experience of caring for patients/clients over time, information learned in college/university, and information learned about each patient/client as an individual. Responses for Hispanic respondents as well as electronic device users were similar. Content and features accessed daily by handheld computer devices were reference materials, e-mail, address/phonebook, Internet access other than e-mail, calendar/date book, alarm/reminder, calculator, and memo pad. Software installed on handheld devices and used daily included drug references, medical text/reference book, medical math/formula calculator, practice guidelines, and language translator/dictionary. Respondents who did not report using handheld devices at work were older, had more years in advanced practice nursing, and were more likely to work in a hospital, birthing center, or institution such as a prison, school, or military facility. There was no difference in resource or electronic device use by Hispanic advanced practice RNs. Electronic resources for practice are growing and being used by advanced practice RNs. Consideration should be given to incorporating evaluation and implementation of electronic clinical resources into advanced practice RN educational programs. Future research should include greater detail about the origin of information used in practice. Patient responses to the use of electronic handheld devices in clinical settings needs illuminating.
Author Affiliations: Canseco School of Nursing (Dr Bischoff) and Library (Acquisitions) (Mr Hinojosa), Texas A&M International University, Laredo, TX.
The first author was a participant in the 2012 NLN Scholarly Writing Retreat, sponsored by the NLN Foundation for Nursing Education and Pocket Nurse.
Preliminary data from this study were presented at the 2011 Annual Laredo Advanced Practice Nurses Association conference.
The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationship with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.
Corresponding author: Whitney R. Bischoff, DrPH, RN, CTN-B, 5201 University Blvd. Laredo, TX 78155 firstname.lastname@example.org).