Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Psychology

First Committee Member

Peggy Perkins

Number of Pages



Technology has made a significant impact within the healthcare system over recent years. As technology continues to evolve and becomes a major driving force within the healthcare system, so will the need for preparing technologically competent healthcare professionals. Also within the healthcare system, changes such as a decrease in the length of hospital stay, the aging population, and the multi-disease processes of the aging population, presents a challenge to nursing faculty to adequately prepare tomorrows' nurse. One of the most promising technological devices being used by healthcare professionals is the handheld computer or personal digital assistant (PDA). Although the current literature supports the use of the PDA by practicing nurses and nursing students, little is known how to incorporate these devices to support and develop life-long learners; A mixed-method design directed this study. Biemiller & Meichenbaum's Think-Aloud was conducted at the onset and conclusion of the study. A grounded theory approach was utilized to gather data pertaining to PDAs and nursing students. Upon observing the participant accessing the PDA, a semi-structured interview occurred. The last component of data collection was obtained via a tracking system on a nursing focused PDA software program; The results demonstrate that the PDA supports self-regulated/self-directed learning in nursing students. Biemiller & Meichenbaum's Think-Aloud demonstrated that all participants increased in their ability to be self-directed learners at the conclusion of the study. Furthermore, the results demonstrated that students are accessing the PDA in the clinical site, in the classroom, in studying for test/exams, and when completing assignments. Although the age varied for the participants, the method preferred for learning was from the screen; Pintrich's self-regulated learning model was used as a method of determining the extent and progression of identifying self-regulated learners. Again, the results displayed that the PDA supported the participant in becoming self-regulated learners by providing them with a tool that offers precise, current, accurate, and current time information. With the ease of accessing information any time and from anywhere, nursing students have the potential to control what and how learning occurs.


Care; Computers; Constrain; Handheld; Handheld Computers; Nursing; Pdas; Point-of-care; Students; Support

Controlled Subject


File Format


File Size

3532.8 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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