We all know there was a world before smartphones, even if we can’t really remember it.
They’re everywhere, completely integrated into our world, but especially for students. According to Nielson, over 85% of the 18-34 demographic owns and uses a smart phone. At Joyce, this means all of our healthcare students have smartphones, which can be good and bad, depending on how they’re used. We want to help nursing and OTA students use these devices in the best possible way, so we’ve outlined the best, worst, and in-between ways to use your smartphone during school.
Every smartphone comes with built-in apps and a store with a limitless supply of more. These will vary depending on the brand you own, but whether you have an iPhone, Nexus, Galaxy, or something else, you have access to many apps that can benefit your studies, schedule, and overall health.
You can and should use your smartphone strategically when you study. Flashcard apps like Quizlet allow you to memorize terms and medicines on-the-go, and without the risk of losing a few. Additionally, most smartphones can double as an eReader, so if your professor sent out PDFs to read, you can access them anywhere, literally in the palm of your hand.
For your schedule, having a calendar in your pocket is nothing new; students have used these for decades. A pocket calendar that can alert you a week before an exam or group presentation, though: That’s one of the many modern perks of smartphones. Whether it’s the built-in calendar or an organization app like Evernote, you should use something to track and remind you about assignments, your class and clinical schedule, and study group times.
Smartphones can also improve your health as you’re studying healthcare. New fitness and exercise apps appear every week, and a lot of them are great, particularly for students who have a limited amount of time to exercise. Whether it’s setting reminders to take a screen-break and stretch, finding healthy recipes, tracking your jogging mileage, or learning quick workouts to do between study sessions, your smartphone can help keep you healthy.
Related Resource: 10 Proven Study Tips to Retain Information
Smartphones have earned a bad reputation for increasing procrastination and diminishing attention spans—and not without reason. We’ve written before that when you create your ideal study space, your smartphone shouldn’t be in it, or at least should be on airplane mode. The same is certainly true during class. It can be too tempting to reply to texts, or to check Facebook and your email when you only have a few hours to learn test material. Regardless of what you’re studying, time is precious. A few glances at your smartphone screen can build up minutes and waste time quickly. It can also pull you out of focus, causing immediate disruption to studying. When you’re reading and attending class, you have to be fully attentive, so keep your smartphone out of sight.
One of the risks of starting nursing school or any healthcare program is isolation. With so many classes to take, assignments to complete, and materials to read, some students totally remove themselves from family and loved ones just to get everything done. While it’s true you’ll lose a lot of your old social time when you start school, you don’t have to be isolated—and in fact you shouldn’t be! Taking care of yourself means more than just sleeping enough and eating well. You need to spend time with loved ones, and if that can’t be done in person, your smartphone can be a true lifeline. Many phones now have video chat capabilities, which can be a powerful means of connecting with family members, seeing the faces of the people who feel invested and pride in your education. Even a quick text with old friends or classmates can remind you you’re not alone.
This constant connection, though, can be a double-edged sword. Sometimes it’s best to just turn off the phone completely. We’re so used to having these devices constantly available that leaving them at home can feel terrifying. But if you’ve tried it, you know it’s actually liberating. Give it a chance and see how it affects your mindset during class and study sessions. The ability to communicate with loved ones anytime can certainly benefit our students, but they also need to make sure they disconnect when needed.