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May 19, 2015

10 reasons every nursing student needs a Surface

At first, becoming a nurse is this noble idea motivated by compassion, benevolence, autonomy, ambition, and a lot of other feel-good stuff. You study tirelessly for entry exams, apply to stretch schools and back-up schools, anxiously prepare for interviews, and cross your fingers. A few months later you tear open a letter from the admissions department and read, “Congratulations!” A wave of excitement, joy, and pride washes over you. You did it!

Seconds pass and you realize, this is just the beginning. Next thing you know you’re in the thick of it: balancing clinical with simulations with patient logs with papers with capstone projects with major pathophysiology and pharmacology exams. How will you survive?

The last thing you need to worry about is your computer. Will it be new enough, powerful enough, and fast enough? Will it be compatible with… everything? Will you be able to bring it to class? How long will the battery last? You heard something about web-conferencing and digital whiteboards. What about that?

Well never fear, I have officially been in nursing school for 8 years (BSN, MSN, and DNP), and I am here to save you the headache of picking out a computer. Without further ado, here are 10 reasons why every nursing student needs a Microsoft Surface.

It’s powerful.

It has top-of-the-line hardware making it as powerful as a regular desktop, while remaining as convenient as a tablet. The Surface can be purchased with an Intel core i3, i5, or i7 processor, up to 512GB of storage space, and 4GB or 8GB of memory. The Surface is able to run all my programs for school, not to mention stream my favorite music and movies.

It’s portable and port-able

The Surface is thin, sleek, light-weight, and damage resistant. The Surface has followed me from class to clinicals to conferences and back. Not to mention the Surface has a USB port to easily transfer files and a Mini Display Port to quickly hook up to an external monitor before a presentation.

It’s sanitizable.

You can bring it to and from all your clinical rotations. Use less than 70% isopropyl alcohol on a lint free cloth and gently wipe clean the screen and type cover. Microsoft suggests  PDI Sani-Cloth Plus, CaviWipes, Covidien Alcohol Prep Pads, and Clorox Healthcare Bleach Germicidal Wipes. Reader beware, the Clorox Healthcare Bleach Wipes can discolor your type cover.

It’s compatible

Many nursing schools require their students to own a computer that runs the full version of an operating system and has a solid state drive. The Surface runs the latest version of Windows and is compatible with all the programs you will need for school including Word and PowerPoint as well as OneDrive cloud storage.

It’s versatile

Use it as a tablet, or snap in the keyboard to use it as a laptop. At home, drop it in the docking station, and voila, it is indistinguishable from a desktop computer. Take it from me, tablet mode is great for note-taking, laptop mode for typing, and desktop mode for researching. Basically, it’s a tablet, a laptop, a desktop, it’s everything.

It’s dependable

The battery lasts around 9 hours, which has always been plenty to get me through the day.

It’s note-worthy

I never thought I’d stop using pen and paper; I’ve always felt like the process of writing notes helped me remember them better than typing. Luckily, the Surface met me halfway. I can still write all my notes using the Surface Pen and OneNote. The pen really is remarkable. The pressure sensitivity and ergonomic design make it look and feel like a normal pen. And as a bonus, the Surface Pen can be any color you like!

It’s sustainable

Before the Surface I was printing hundreds of pages of PowerPoint presentations, journal articles, study guides, and homework assignments. With the Surface and Surface Pen, I take hand-written notes directly on the digital documents, and I organize them in virtual binders using OneNote. I’ve saved my fair share of trees at this point.

It’s efficient

Besides saving trees, digital note-taking saves you the time it takes to print, hole-punch, and organize everything into binders. The Surface has made submitting handwritten homework assignments easier too. With the Surface pen, I can write my answers directly on the tablet and easily email it to my professor. I spend less time printing, scanning, and uploading, and more time actually studying.

It’s unique

The Surface is undoubtedly one of a kind. This is the first time the world of the tablet and the world of the laptop have been brought together. It stands out as meticulously engineered and thoughtfully designed. You can pick from an array of custom type covers to show off your distinctive side. Besides the logo subtlety etched on the back of the kickstand, the Surface goes unbranded. This wasn’t an accident. You make the brand.

Melissa DeCapua – Nurse Practitioner

@melissadecapua /