Personal Communication Devices
Personal communication devices allow people to stay connected to friends and family. These devices can also help them with their daily activities.
Hospital-registered nurses use personal electronic communication devices to engage in non-work-related Internet activities, but little is known about their impact on patient safety and quality of care. This study sought to understand the nature and implications of nurses’ PCD use at work.
What is a personal communication device?
A personal communication device is a cell phone, tablet computer or other electronic device that allows you to communicate with others. These devices also allow you to stay connected to friends and family no matter where you are.
Using these devices while on the job has many benefits but there are also some risks. One of the biggest risks is distraction. Studies in psychology and education show that distractions can cause a reduction in performance.
Employees must follow the use policies for personal communications tools, as outlined by their departments and the University. Generally, employees are permitted to use these tools for work-related purposes only and for limited personal uses that do not interfere with their ability to carry out their duties. This includes placing and receiving calls, text messaging, blogging and microblogging, e-mailing and using the video or camera features of these devices.
The DynaVox Maestro
Pittsburgh-based Dynavox makes speech generating devices that closely resemble tablet computers. Their Maestro device, for example, has a touch screen, different input options (joystick, head mouse, visual scanning), a built-in camera and wi-fi capabilities, and the company’s InterAACt communication software.
The device allows users to select picture or word keys which are generated into a voice. It also has features such as concept-based phrase prediction, speech amplification and rate enhancement.
According to a Dynavox press release, the Maestro is “designed for daily communication needs and enables users to access their favorite apps.” The device costs approximately $7,565; however, it is often covered by Medicare or private insurance. The Kids Center on Eastern Parkway offers a device loan program for those who want to try out the technology before purchasing it.
Cell phones rely on wireless technology to connect to the outside world and enable calls, text messages and internet access. The phone’s radio antenna converts electronic signals into radio waves and vice versa.
The first handheld cellular mobile phone was made by Motorola in 1973. It weighed four and a half pounds, and its user could only use it when within range of a special telephone service area called a “cell.” These analog phones were replaced by digital ones in the 1980s.
Today, most people have a mobile phone with them at all times. These phones, often referred to as smartphones, have advanced features like GPS and mobile apps. Several large epidemiological studies have linked cellphone use to head and neck cancers in adults, but the results are still mixed.
Computers are powerful devices that process information at a rate of millions per second. Using computers, people can access a huge amount of free resources and find ways to improve their lives.
A personal communication device that combines computing, telephony and networking capabilities is known as a PDA, or personal digital assistant. These devices can function as a cell phone, fax machine and a handheld organizer.
Nursing research has shown that PCDs offer nurses the convenience of instant communication with colleagues and medical references on in-patient units. However, they also introduce a new source of distraction that may impact patient safety. 
Gaming consoles are the most popular personal communication devices on the market today. These devices include the Sony Playstation, Nintendo Wii, and Microsoft Xbox systems. They are application-specific computers that offer network connectivity, and have the ability to integrate into TVs and systems.
These systems also allow players to interact with one another using a video camera system called the Kinect. This allows players to communicate with one another during live gameplay. While this is fun, it is not a good idea to let children use these devices unless they are under supervision with privacy controls enabled.
Currently, most gaming consoles have parental controls, but these are not foolproof. These may not stop kids from using these devices to spy on their parents or other people.