My Baby Computer


Smith, J. (Fall, 2017). Student Editorial: My Baby Computer. Online Journal of Nursing Informatics (OJNI), 21(3), Available at

Editorial Overview

For this manuscript overview, I am completing an assignment for an online nursing class.  We were asked to create an individual editorial in the same style as an editorial by Dee McGonigle, published in the Online Journal of Nursing Informatics 17(3).  My editorial is titled My Baby Computer and follows the progression of computer purchases as related to adding a new baby to the family.


Being with your new computer is like meeting your infant for the first time.  After months of dreaming, your bundle of joy is thrust into your arms and you now get to explore the realities of this new relationship.  At first you just look and are amazed at the beauty and newness, and you even might lovingly stroke the keys and rub the case with affection.  As time goes on, you continue to work with this new being in your life and learn that life is all about pushing the right key at the right time.

My first memories of a home computer began in 1984 when my husband began graduate school in Lincoln, Nebraska.  He purchased an AT&T desktop computer, model 6300, for approximately $2,000 which was an enormous sum for a young couple. This computer had no hard drive, but did have dual floppy disc drives.  We used this for typing documents, creating simple spread sheets, and creating rudimentary graphics which were all printed on our dot matrix printer that used the paper with the holes along the edges.  I remember the screen was always green, and we loved that computer in our office/extra bedroom of our small apartment.

By 1990 we had a new human baby and purchased an IBM compatible (non-Apple) computer for our home office in a ranch style home in Texas.  We enjoyed the color monitor, and with the hard drive and a floppy drive we could save information more effectively.  Graphics were improving, and our old dot matrix computer kept humming along.

1998 arrived and we purchased a Dell desk top to handle the increased use of email, spread sheets, and graphic use to share the news of human baby number two.  A huge improvement was the addition of an inkjet printer into our lives.  Both of our children grew up using this computer for school work, emails, and early social networking capabilities, such as Myspace.  I also remember upgrading the printer during these years and using lots of ink.

As a nurse and a mother, I was busy in all those years and recall the implementation of computers in the hospital.  I also remember the long process of creating a chart by hand, including the Kardex with all the medications written by hand. At first, we were amazed with the ability of a fax machine to send orders to the pharmacy, and as the years progressed, the electronic health record was part of the hospital family, just like our home computers became important family members with specific functions that were part of everyday life. In fact, I specifically remember a co-worker stating, “I do not know how we functioned without a computer in our nursing unit six months ago!” 

When my oldest daughter went to college in Pennsylvania in 2006, part of her college ensemble was an Apple laptop computer that she used religiously for all her college assignments. In 2012, my husband purchased a Dell laptop, and again our life was transformed by this new baby in the household.  Simultaneously, our younger daughter was given a Dell tablet for school, as her progressive high school bestowed new tablets on each student to increase the ability for online learning.  She purchased an Apple laptop for college in St Louis a few short years later.

To end the story, I purchased my first laptop, a MacBook Air in July 2016.  Unfortunately, all my family members were absent when I welcomed this new baby to our Michigan home. I was amazed with the shiny appearance, and lovingly stroked the keys and case, and bought extra protection to keep this little one safe from the big bad world.  I simultaneously started graduate school for my second master’s degree, and although I had some stressful days in the beginning of our relationship as new computer and mother, I have loved learning the secrets to success are all about pushing the keys at the right time to stay connected, organized, and in love with this important family member.  As I take students to hospital clinical settings, I have learned to love informatics, just like you learn to love a new baby.

Author Bio

I hold a bachelor of nursing from Wichita State University (1981), a master of science in human development and family studies from the University of North Texas (2001), and am currently enrolled in the Master in Nursing Education online through Baker College Online Graduate Campus of Flint, Michigan.