A cradle for holding a wireless terminal. The cradle includes a lower spring-loaded leveling tray and an upper bracket including two spaced-apart retainers that allow one-handed access to the wireless terminal using an ergonomically safe push-down-and-tilt motion. Easy removal is enhanced by using an optical communication link between the cradle and the wireless terminal. The optical communication link allows an optional articulating keyboard to communicate with the wireless terminal when the wireless terminal is in the cradle. A battery charging terminal in the leveling tray charges the battery in the wireless terminal. The leveling tray is automatically locked when the wireless terminal is installed in the cradle. When the wireless terminal is in the cradle, a solenoid may be activated to open the lock. The cradle includes up to three ways to activate the solenoid to open the security lock: a password entered into the keyboard; a password entered into a four-button keypad on the cradle; and an application program that may be operated from the wireless terminal or from another terminal in the patient-care computer network. Alternatively, a manual key-lock may operate the lock if another component of the locking system fails. The cradle also includes a dog that automatically locks the cradle when the wireless terminal is installed in the cradle, and that automatically keeps the cradle unlocked when the wireless terminal is removed from the cradle.