Trau·ma  Junk· ie  ( 'trau-m&  'j&[ng]-kE) n. Slang
  1. One who has an insatiable interest, devotion or addiction to responding and assisting people with serious injury or shock to the body, as from violence or an accident.

How RIM/BlackBerry Helps Me Survive RT School

I'm back!
For all of you faithful readers, I apologize for my leave of absence. A lot has went on in the past few months, but for the sake of time, I blame my lack of posts on my BlackBerry Bold from AT&T.

But wait, you don't have an iPhone? Nope, don't want one.

Let me tell you a bit about the specs on this baby:

  • Half VGA resolution 480 x 320 pixel color display
  • Backlighting, with a light sensing screen
  • Trackball
  • QWERTY keyboard with backlighting (by far my favorite feature!)
  • Bluetooth v 2.0
  • Supported video formats: DivX 4, DivX 5/6 partially supported, XviD partially supported, H.263, H.264, WMV3
  • Supported audio formats: .3gp, MP3, WMA9 (.wma/.asf), WMA9 Pro/WMA 10, MIDI, AMR-NB, Professional AAC/AAC+/eAAC+
  • 2.0 megapixel still camera with flash and 3x zoom (also has video capabilities)
  • Battery life: Standby -- 13.5 days, Talk time: 4.5 hours
  • 4.48" x 2.6" x 0.59"
  • Weight 4.8 oz (nice!)
None of that means much to most of you. So let's get down to how I use this phone in school, seeing as this blog is focused around RT School--

The good thing about a smartphone is that if you know what you are doing, it will run your entire life for you.

As respiratory therapy students, we are pretty busy. Between class, school, and clinicals, the calendar application that comes installed on all BlackBerry phones is most excellent.


Who needs pen and paper anymore? You will receive an alert directly on your phone, and you can set reminders at different intervals (1 day before the event, 1 hour before, etc.). There's also a snooze option-- which I don't recommend. If you're really good with techy things, I believe there is even a way to set it up where the phone will switch to silent during your meetings and classes scheduled in the calendar.

Other programs I find most useful that come installed on the BlackBerry Bold-- at least AT&T's version-- include voice notes (just as it sounds-- the phone doubles as a voice recorder for lectures), Word To Go, Sheet To Go, and Slideshow To Go.

(I find the ToGo software suite most useful in clinicals, when you need to look over your class notes, drug spreadsheets, or review a short PowerPoint presentation to refresh your knowledge over a topic).

Heck, even the web browser isn't that bad:


Okay, enough with what comes installed on the phone. Today it is all about apps, apps, and more apps. There are millions out there, but the ones I use for school are as follows:

-Google Sync All of us know how pesky it is once you get a new phone to set up all of your contacts. And if you know your schedule for months, or even weeks, in advance, well, it would take hours to add it to your phone. That's where this app comes in. You can add contacts to your Google (GMail) address book and update your calendar online (much faster!), then simply sync it all to your BlackBerry smartphone. This is by far my favorite productivity app.

-Epocrates Rx for BlackBerry The makers claim this application has been shown to, "Improve patient care and safety, save time, and enable confident clinical decisions." Need I say more? I realize there aren't many drugs we handle as respiratory therapist (students) but, every now and then, you get that drug you covered in Pharmacology and have never seen again. Plus, Epocrates is useful when making recommendations to the physician or checking for drug interactions.

-gCalc Since a lot of what we do as students and practitioners involves equations and most of that involves converting units (inches to centimeters, etc), this app is as good as gold!

-Google Maps I know that most of you aren't nearly as directionally challenged as I am, but throughout the duration of our program we visit several outlying "rural" hospitals, some of which are an hour drive or longer. When you wake up at 0430 to leave for your affiliate site, it's nice to know that you don't have to worry with trying to decipher a paper map. This one has saved me from being late more times than I can count.

I really am back this time. Stick around, because coming up tomorrow: A more detailed review of the BlackBerry (from a user's perspective, not a student perspective) and a few of my most favorite apps that I use for fun.

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