The iPad 2 for a Medical Student.

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Blues003, May 16, 2011.

  1. Blues003 macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2010
    Good day!

    I have posted on other sections of MacRumors, but feel I have expressed myself wrongly on the subject, or have beem misinterpreted. As such, I am trying to post this time in the most objective, clear, and concise way I can (and also, maybe the best section to do it).

    I am a 4th year Medical Student from Portugal, with a high chance of acquiring an iPad 2 (16 GB, Wi Fi) for free. Assuming I do, my basic question is if I should keep the iPad 2, or sell it in order to get a laptop (13'' MBP/MBA).

    Now, some background: I have a 4-year old Sony Vaio laptop. Being a 2 GHz C2D with 2GB of RAM laptop, it's enough for creating presentations and essays. It does e-mail, web browsing, Youtube and chat very well. As for gaming, it struggles a bit (NVIDIA 8600M GT), though I am not much of a gamer anyway (I estimate a 320m is more than enough for my gaming needs: PS2 and Nintendo DS emulation being the toughest of those, and only occasionally). Being 3 Kg heavy and having a 1h battery life, it's definetly not portable either. I do have some (laggy) computers at my faculty.

    Now here is the thing: I WILL be getting a Macbook Pro/Air 13'' in the future. I cannot keep using this 15'' monster, which has needed repair more than once while in its warranty period. I am desperatly looking foward to switching laptops. Question is more about "when" than "if". The reason I'd like a powerful laptop is also because I want to start learning how to edit image/video, and start creating my own songs (I studied music for more than 10 years) using a MIDI Keyboard.

    As such, the question that arises is: how good is an iPad 2 for a medical student? If I sell the iPad 2 I could probably buy a MBA/MBP in 5 or 6 months. If I don't, it'll probably take me 13 months to change laptops. (these are all estimates considering my current income). Would you say the iPad 2 is worth those extra 7 months of wait?

    (Note that I'd still be using my laptop at home, specially when it concerned Essays or Presentation creation. I foresee the iPad to be far more useful outside my home than inside it, albeit I have read some interesting articles regarding its ease of use for browing and such.)

    A few more questions to make the decision easier: How do you use your iPad 2 in your faculty? How does it help you with note-taking and presentations? How does it help you with studying and research? How is reading eBooks or PDFs on it? What do you do on it that you'd rather have/not have a laptop for? Would you say it has made your life substancially easier, or that it is simply a "luxury"? And, in particular for medical students, how has been your experience with the iPad and why/why not would you recommend it?

    Thanks to everyone for your feedback!

    P.S. For those whose answer might depend on the kind of gadgets I have... the only other gadget I have is a 600 MHz 3.5'' Android Smartphone!
  2. Blues003 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2010
  3. Euroamerican macrumors member


    May 27, 2010
    My question would be what medical apps are available already on your Android phone. Try a few and then see if there are iApp versions or better alternatives in the Apple environment.

    I'm not in the medical field, but I know some people who are, and several of them already have their RX database on their smart phones. I can imagine it would be really handy to have standard reference guides online, or nearlined on a bigger-screened device such as the iPad.

    You could look at xrays, ultrasounds, charts, and emails a lot easier on the iPad than on a smartphone screen. However, the iPhone or Android phone fits in your pocket. You can carry an iPad pretty easily though if you are already carrying a messenger bag or small attache case.
  4. bactbob macrumors newbie

    May 17, 2011
    This is from a US med school point of view, so apologies if some of this is obvious. Also, I made it through without an iPad so I can't say for sure if things would've been Dramatically Different with one.

    Anyway, it depends on how important portability is to your lifestyle. To me, iPads are more of a convenience than an essential.

    The pre-clinical years are all about listening to lectures, reading books, and studying, which can be accomplished by carrying your MBP/MBA to class/library/coffee shop and parking yourself there for hours (or just doing it all at home).

    In the the clinical years, you'll be moving around the hospital a lot. iPads are impractical since they're too big for white coat pockets (unless you sew one on yourself or carry a small satchel all the time instead) and students usually don't get a secure area to store their stuff. It's much more convenient to use computers around the hospital to print out papers, stick them in your pocket, and read them during your random downtimes. You can go to to see whether you're missing out on anything special, but most of my classmates used Medscape, Epocrates, MedCalc, and the internet on their iPhones--all (or at least an equivalent) of which can be found on the Android.

    tl;dr version: iPads are nice, but you won't be missing out on a lot without one. Based on your post, I'd say you should go for the MBP/MBA instead.

    That said, I am getting an iPad now because...
    -I'm whiny and think my 2kg laptop is too heavy
    -I get restless and like to walk around while reading papers
    -I can finally afford it :p
  5. Janet1 macrumors member

    May 9, 2011
    [/quote]You can go to to see whether you're missing out on anything special, but most of my classmates used Medscape, Epocrates, MedCalc, and the internet on their iPhones--all (or at least an equivalent) of which can be found on the Android. [/quote]

    Those apps are really just shortcuts to the internet sites anyway, so as long as you an internet connection available, you can access them from your laptop instead.

    For me personally, I always prefer taking notes with a laptop because my typing speed is far better on a laptop. I'm also always multitasking, and no, the so-called multitasking functionality added to the iPad isn't what I consider multitasking.

    I also feel I learn material better when I study using hard copy.
  6. Cuthbert macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2008
    I would get the ipad and then trade it for an iphone or ipod touch. I used my iPhone all through pediatric residency. The apps are great (Pedi Safe, Epocrates, PALS advisor, MedCalc). The iPhone or Touch would be much better considering it's pocket sized. I wouldn't think you'd want to be carrying an iPad around with you on the wards.

    Long story short:
    Use your laptop for notes and presentations. Trade the iPad for a Touch or iPhone.
  7. Blues003 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2010
    I will still investigate the App question (though I believe most are available on Android too, even if less optimized; I use WebMD and Medscape regularly).

    I am on the same boat as the posters above. I too find the iPad would be the less optimal option. What I do not want is to sell it and then regret it. What'd you say about how useful an iPad would be for someone who will have to do a Master Degree's thesis? Do you think it'd be useful, or just occasionally? (I will have to do one next year)
  8. SRLMJ23 macrumors 68000


    Jul 11, 2008
    New York
    I'm a fourth year Medical Student and rely heavily on my iPad. I love MedScape and definitely Epocrates for proper dosing of certain drugs not to mention when you buy the pro version you get a converter in Epocrates.

    I take my notes in different places. Sometime I use the Apple Notepad, other times I use Evernote.

    If you have any questions feel free to Private Message me and I will reply within 24 hours.

    Goodluck to ALL the Medical Students on MacRumors!!:apple:
  9. LushMojo macrumors regular


    Oct 26, 2008
    Camden, Maine
    Indeed. Good luck to us all! (Starting first year this Fall.)

    I'm using an iPad 2 (with Toblino cover and soon a Wacom Bamboo stylus). I used an iPad throughout the last year finishing a degree at the med school (masters in pharmacological research) and being able to read, highlight and annotate PDFs; listen/watch Tegrity recordings of lectures and use MedScape, Epocrates and Evernote have been a godsend.

    I have an 11" Macbook Air and a 27" iMac to help with heavier lifting, but the iPad has truly been useful and worth every penny.
  10. Cuthbert macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2008
    It would be ok, but you would need a wireless keyboard in my opinion for heavy typing.

    The bigger questions is "why?" If you are going to have a macbook pro, do you need the iPad or would an iPod touch be easier to carry around. Personally, I would not want to be running around the floors during residency with an iPad. An iPhone or touch is so much better - just toss it in a pocket and you're good to go.
  11. Tsuchiya macrumors 68020


    Jun 7, 2008
  12. ppfd macrumors regular


    Apr 14, 2007
    West Virginia USA
    I'm a Paramedic, Critical Care Registered Nurse, and planning on Med School in the near future.

    Apps for Medical purposes? Sky is the limit!
    I use Epocrates, MicroMedix (another med ref.) iResq, (great critical care app!) Wiser (haz mat app). I've tried a bunch, and these are the few I use almost daily.

    Ipad vs laptop - I have both and ipad 1 and a macbook pro along with an iphone. Honestly from the student side, I'd say go laptop. I used a macbook for nursing school. This was obviously prior to the ipad. I have a co worker thats in nursing school now and used his ipad for one semester and fell back to his MBP as it was just easier and less to carry vs the ipad. Meaning he had to break out his BT key board for serious typing. Overall weight was less yes. But, he says typing was just easier with a laptop.

    Clinical setting - this is where your ipad would shine.

    Now lets bring the iphone into this. On the truck the iphone in a solid case is a no brainer! I use mine daily on the ambulance, fire truck, and in the hospital when I'm working there. The apps are interchangeable as you know with the ipad and iphone.

    If it was me, I'd get a new laptop and an iphone (or smart phone in general)
    Yes the MBP will weigh more. But, it will offer so much more as far as "usability" goes, especially for a med student.

    Now if you can swing all 3, thats a perfect set up!!
  13. megsandbytes macrumors member

    May 1, 2011
    The iPad is great for education if you ask me. It's diverse plethora of apps cover almost every category under the sun you could imagine and more are becoming available each day. Just when you think they can't get more sophisticated, they do.

    As Euroamerican mentioned too, the screen size would be perfect for viewing things such as x-rays and whatnot.

    Whatever the case, I'm sure anything you currently do on your Vaio laptop you'll be able to do better with an iPad 2.

    As far as presentations you could use something like which is cloud based, but of course there are several other apps available for download to use directly on your iPad to make quality presentations.

    Regarding apps for taking notes, God knows there's enough good ones out there!
  14. matt90036 macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2010
    Having iAnnotate and sideloaded Medical books as PDFs is invaluable for me. But for residency or clinical rotations i would recomand an iphone since ipad is too big.
  15. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    During didactic year I don't see the need for it. It is a luxury for clinical years, but has been nice to have. Having 30 medical books at my disposal to read when an attending gets pulled away or done rounding or inbetween surgeries has been very helpful.

    It is very unlikely any hospital is going to clear you for using it for accessing anything patient related like charts or x rays. Wireless may be hard to find, so get 3g if you want it. Only 1 rotation in a hospital so far had free wifi.

    As far as carrying it around, I just leave it in a drawer nearby or on a COW (computer on wheels) when we round or just carry it. I have it in a Moleskin case that has a notepad that I use to write down notes and procedures/patients I have seen that day.
  16. Axonometry macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2008
    Fifth year medical student here from Hungary. On my iphone3g i used medscape, epocrates, webmd, and all of these are available for android too (on my current htc desire)!
    Just recently got the iPad2, and its really great! All of these apps look better (medscape is really awesome on a screen this big) and like said before, you can view xrays, CT slices, videos, etc, and also i find it great for note-taking and photo/videodocumenting purposes too.
    Of course its size doesn't really fit the usual clinical setting, but for school and everyday use its great.

    And lets not forget the Lexi-complete app, its really good and a fast way of getting information (includes the full harrisons practice, and has drug interaction capability). Its available for android too (although i couldn't seem to find out exactly how to get it updating its content...)

    Good luck!

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