The following is a guest post by Patricia Walling:
The market for tablet devices is fairly new. While they were originally created as a way for people to read digital books and newspapers, tablets now work as full functioning computers. In fact, nearly every function that can be performed on a laptop can be performed on a tablet. You can watch movies, write documents, play games and even surf the Internet. Thus if you are a nurse who travels a lot, carrying a tablet with you can be far more advantageous than a laptop. Not only are these devices highly mobile, but they also have great battery life, offer a plethora of unique features and serve as excellent medical transcription tools.
As a rule, tablets are much friendlier to travelers than other, bulkier equipment. If you have ever taken a laptop to the airport, you know how much of a pain it is to get through security. You have to take your laptop out of the case, place it in a bin, send it through the machine and repack it all over again at the end; this takes time and is always quite a hassle. However, when you travel with a tablet, you don’t even have to remove the device from your bag. Because the ATA assigns a different definition to tablets than laptops, you can just send the bag containing it through the scanner with little ado. Tablets don’t require you to carry a bulky case either, which makes one less thing for you to carry around. In fact, traveling with a tablet isn’t much more difficult than traveling with your mobile phone. For these and many more reasons, tablets are looking like smarter purchase.
You also won’t have to worry about bothering fellow travelers when using a tablet. Type on a laptop can generate a lot of keyboard noise, and chances are it will annoy the person sitting next to you. Tablets allow you to write almost silently using your finger, stylus or electronic pen, not only making the process of writing whisper quiet, but also letting you take notes in a more natural and off-hand way. In this way, tablets allow you to work even on overnight flights without giving others reason to be perturbed by your zeal.
Another advantage to traveling with a tablet is the ability to use a variety of apps. If you are out of the country there are apps that can help you translate foreign languages as well as find a good place to eat and get quick weather snapshots. While you can use a laptop for this too, a tablet makes these tasks much more streamlined. And unlike a laptop’s relatively clumsy mouse-keyboard interface, a touch of your finger can instantly call up a wealth of information. There is no shortagve of travel apps that you can download no matter what operating system your tablet uses, providing you with a simplified and more pleasurable travel experience.
Finally, patient security is often an issue for traveling nurses. No matter the cause, there are serious legal repercussions to consider should a nurse release medical records. There are strict laws regarding patient information. If you pull up a patient’s chart on a laptop, you run the risk of someone else seeing that information. This can get you in to major trouble. A tablet is much more user friendly. The smaller screen, along with flexibility in where you hold the device, eliminates the threat that someone else will see patient information.
While laptops can perform many of the same functions that a tablet can, they don’t make traveling easy. Traveling nurses are always on the move, and a tablet will provide you with flexibility and ease that a laptop cannot match. Not only will having a tablet save you time and trouble at the terminal, but it will also be less obtrusive on the plane, and make it easier for you to provide patients with confidentiality. Clearly, traveling with a tablet is the smart thing to do.
Patricia Walling is a graduate student working toward her Masters in Conservation Biology. She has both professional and volunteer experience in a hospital environment and currently resides in Washington state.