computers required?

My husband and I are discussing buying a computer and I wondered if any of you guys are required to have a laptop or specific computer capabilites in med school.

Hi Theresa,
My medical school, provides every incoming freshman student with a laptop computer. They purchase Dell computers (not specifically high end but good) because they get a huge discount by purchasing 125 laptops at one buy. Hopkins does the same thing for their incoming students so see what’s happening at your favorite school.
Natalie smile.gif

Although Mayo does not provide a computer, they strongly recommend one (as do I) since all the lectures are on Powerpoint slides. There is talk of making including the computer as part of the tuition like some other medical schools do.
For Mayo, a laptop is definitely the way to go. All the seats have network plugins and since all the lectures are on Powerpoint, you can follow along with the professor during the lecture and take your notes directly in the Powerpoint file so that you have your notes and the teachers notes together in one electronic document. I'm sure this is done at other medical schools as well.

They're not required in pittsburgh as far as I know. They have a decent sized computer lab in the library. It's nice to have one at home though for checking email, typing up papers, doing research for PBL etc… Library has remote access to Ovid, MdConsult, Harrison's Online over the internet so you can do some PBL stuff from home.
I say they're not required as far as I know because there has been a movement to put more curriculum online so it may be required soon.
Laptops are pretty versatile but desktops are cheaper and more easily upgraded.

Most places do not require them and very few, I suspect, supply them. However, even though you can certainly get through med school w/o one, they sure as hell make life easier!!! They make writing papers, researching stuff on the net and all that other crap much more manageable. Furthermore, things like balancing your checkbook are tons faster thereby allowing you more free time in lieu of fretting over the damned checkbook boo-boos!
I could not imagine even attempting med school w/o at least 1 computer.

Thanks for the answers, guys. I should have pointed out that we already have a computer and are discussing the purchase of a second one. The kids are getting old enough tha I have to schedule my access time! biggrin.gif
Think I’ll wait and see if the laptop is a good idea. With any luck I’ll know where I’m going in about a year! (That’s the eternal optimist speaking!)

I would suggest you do just what I’m doing. Use the computer you have until you know what med school you’re accepted to. For me, that meant WVSOM, where I just found out while visiting there last week, that they are including $3,000 in the financial aid package to allow for a new computer to be purchased. I will have to wait until we get there (hopefully in March, since that’s when our lease begins), and then I will find out exactly what they want in the computer, and go out and get it as soon as I have the money together.
In the meantime, it’s just me and my poor ole’ Mac! tongue.gif

QUOTE (Linda Wilson @ Jan 19 2003, 04:59 PM)
I just found out while visiting there last week, that they are including $3,000 in the financial aid package to allow for a new computer to be purchased.

$3,000!!!!! Holy cow!!!!! You can get 3 very good computers for that cost!!! Looks like you won't be lacking in the computer department! smile.gif

I know, Geoff! I was totally surprised and pleased!
Now all I have to do is ask my boss what kind of laptop he has and what stuff he had added to it. I know it cost him under $3000, and he even got a digital camera with it! And it’s lightweight, only about 4 1/2 pounds.
And to those who don’t like Macs, it looks like I’ll have to give up and get one of those other 'puters. . . . . you know, the ones that use Intell and Microsoft, since WVSOM doesn’t guarantee their stuff to be Mac friendly. Oh well. I can use any computer, I just like the graphics better on Mac. rolleyes.gif

I know upgrading my Mac would probably help, but they specifically say do not plan on using a Mac as some of their programs are incompatible. I thought that with all the new gadgets that allow systems to be interchangeable that it would be okay, but I guess not. And I know that in the research lab where I work, there are things that we can do on the Dells that we can’t do on the Macs. blink.gif unsure.gif sad.gif I don’t know why they can’t make them so they work together.
Anyway, they also require it to be a laptop, so I need to get a new one anyway, since I don’t own a laptop yet. And, after going through their list of everything that is required to be part of the package, it looks like $3K will just about cover it. That’s okay. I just want to get to WV and get the computer so that I am comfortable with it before classes start!

I’ve been accepted to the new school in Virginia, EVVCOM…during the interview day presentations, we were told that a laptop is a requirement, but a microscope and PDA are not. The laptop’s necessary spec’s will be sent to each student “soon”. The Virginia Tech/Blacksburg/New River Valley area is one of the most wired ‘n’ wireless in the country, so having a built-in wireless connection is on my list. No word yet on the financial arrangements for buying this, except that we are free to buy whichever model of computer we each want. Take care!

Can we resurrect this thread?
For those of you that now have laptops, have you found the laptop critical? M question is on the laptop specifically, as compared to a desktop.
How often do you bring your laptop to school? I was wondering if I could get away with a desktop, downloading powerpoint slides or whatever from home. Why do we need to bring them to class, and if we don’t need them, then why a laptop. Desktop are so much cheaper, so much more powerful, and so much more upgradeable.

I didn’t have a laptop for the first two years, but this last few months I’ve wished I did. There is just so much on the web that we use, instructors who put slides on the web, path web sites, etc, not to mention CDs for studying (several of my professors put path slides and such on CDs)that I felt rather tied to my apartment without a laptop. I would have liked to have been able to take it with me when I wanted to study at school or a coffee shop.
I recently purchased a PDA, which right now has no medical software on it, only games so if anybody has any software they’ve found particularly useful for Palms, please let me know.

Great thread to bring back here. I will be curious to see what people say.

Lots of people don’t have laptops but I love mine (a PowerBook). It requires wireless access to be useful, so if that’s not available in your part of the woods, I’d say it’s not worth it because you’re going to be tethered to a phone jack anyway. But being able to sit wherever I want in the libraries of my school, or in the various classrooms, to do online class stuff (e.g., watch old lectures) is great. And I definitely use it for other stuff–mainly, in my case, writing.
You can definitely survive without one. But you won’t be as cool.

BACMEDIC-At MSM you must buy a laptop (it is part of the tuition). The classrooms and buildings are set up with wireless and there are plugs at most desks, and most teachers have worked it into their curriculum, offering slides and such through Blackboard. It makes note-taking and studying a lot easier. With a few exceptions everyone brings their laptop to school; of course, it is a huge temptation to surf, pay bills, email and IM in class. Speaking of IM, I guess it’s the new generation but everyone is on it. It is a total communication tool for the class where students transfer notes, ask each other questions about the lecture and more. Interestingly, we now have “laptop etiquette” issues much like cellphone issues (the sound of “you’ve got mail” or “DINGGG” has sounded through the classroom more than once!!). I’ve seen lecturers will get mad if they see students with the laptop open - they ask us to close them! I would NOT have bought a laptop if it was up to me, but I can’t be without it now – I love the freedom of taking the laptop wherever I want (study groups, coffee shop, etc). Major drawback - we had to buy the school’s computers (a bit over $2000 included everything - software, warranty, technical support)and the brand, Toshiba Satellite Pro, had some problems and is not my favorite.

Same for Mayo we are required to buy a laptop and the expense is included in your first year expenses.

Epidoc, there is a bunch of software available for PDA’s. The good news is that some of it is even free, depending on the type of PDA you have.
I have a Palm OS (Tungsten-E), with a 256mb memory card added. Current cost on this is a bit under $250, depending on where you buy it (it pays to shop around). Since you have a palm, you’re in good shape. You might want to get a memory card, 256 mb is kind of overkill unless you want to put mp3 files on your palm in which case it’s not enough. Memory cards are really pretty inexpensive these days so I’d suggest at least a 128. Unfortuately theres a big difference between a 256 and a larger card.
On my PDA thats medically related, I have:
Free Software:
Epocrates - like the PDR, only better
Johns Hopkins Abx - look up antibiotics and dosages
911 - terrorism and biohazard info
STAT Cardiac Clearance
EBM Cal - Evidence based medicine
GRACE ACS Risk Model
Growth2 - peds growth chart
LDL Cholesterol caclulator
MedCalc (medical calculator)
MedRules (ditto)
Mendeleev (periodic table of elements)
Medical Mnemonics
Software I’ve paid for:
Steadmans medical dictionary - a suprisingly useful thing to have, and not just for medicine. I also have the concise book edition.
Bates Physical Exam (the software came with one of the books)
Software I have trial or limited (free) copies of
5 minute Emergency Consult
5 minute Medical Consult
I’ve been using PDA’s since about 1997, when I traded in a 4-lb Franklin Planner for a 4 oz Palm-III. I like them, quite a bit, and use mine as my phone book, scheduler, notebook, etc. I also have flying, sailing, search and rescue, games, inventory and other things on my pda.