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20 mobile apps for nurses in 2012

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If you have an iPhone, iPad or other mobile device, you likely have a ton of apps taking up space. While some of those apps are likely tailored for fun (Angry Birds, Words with Friends), there’s no question that you can use your smartphone to serve your nursing career.

We at Scrubs, for example, have proudly launched the Code Happy app that focuses on bringing you laughter, inspiration, salary statistics and insights into the lives of other happy nurses throughout the country!

Of course, when you’re in your scrubs and ready to tackle the shift, using mobile apps to get information on drugs to anatomy to conditions is a no-brainer way to better treat your patients and keep reference materials easily accessible. Here’s a look at 20 top clinical apps for nurses in 2012!

Not all of these apps are free, but when you think about the great services they provide—such as keeping you on top of ever-changing medical data—it’s well worth the money.

1. Davis Mobile NCLEX-RN Med-Surg: If you’re still a student and studying for your boards, this app will give you questions to answer while you’re waiting for the bus, sitting in front of the television or hanging out between classes. The convenience of questions by phone was unheard of only a few years ago. Now you can study in your downtime.
2. Pill Identifier by Drugs.com: Oh no! Your patient accidentally drop his pills on the floor. Unfortunately, you have no idea which medications they were! When you call the pharmacy for new ones, what will you tell them? Pill Identifier lets you look up pills by their common features to find out which ones you need to reorder.
3. Skyscape Medical Resources: This app is a great bundle of useful tools for nurses rolled into one. The free version includes comprehensive info on prescription drugs, a medical calculator by specialty, evidence-based clinical information on hundreds of diseases and symptom-related topics and timely content that nurses need to know on-the-go such as journal summaries, breaking clinical news and drug alerts.
4. Instant ECG: An Electrocardiogram Rhythms Interpretation Guide: With more than 90 high-resolution images of ECGs, this app is perfect for the telemetry nurse who often needs to interpret rhythms. Let’s face it, some of them are just plain tough to remember, and this app makes them easily accessible when you’re stumped.
5. Critical Care ACLS Guide: In addition to laying out the ACLS algorithms, this app has such helpful information as the rule of 9s for burns, chest X-ray interpretation and 12-lead EKG interpretation. This will come in handy for any nurse who is working in the ICU or other critical care area.
6. Fast Facts for Critical Care: In keeping with the critical care theme, this app offers even more in-depth knowledge you need when working in a critical unit. Based on the books by Kathy White, this app includes information on managing sepsis, heart failure and 16 classes of critical care drugs.
7. Pocket Lab Values: Sure, you have the lab values that come along with lab reports nowadays, but sometimes you aren’t at your computer to know the specific values of certain labs. This app helps with that by keeping you up to date on numbers, such as ABGs, lumbar puncture and immunology values.
8. Pocket Body: Musculoskeletal by Pocket Anatomy: For nursing students, memorizing the names of bones and muscles is often one of the most challenging parts of school. With this app, you will have the names and structures available to study—either on the job or when trying to prepare for that all-important test.
9. Sleep Sounds: Need to relax? On your lunch break, you can play the soothing sounds of a thunderstorm, the wind or a cat purring to calm your mind and escape from the rigors of the floor. Just don’t get too relaxed—you need to finish your shift!
10. IDdx: Infectious Disease Queries: This handy reference of more than 250 diseases allows you to type in the symptom of an infectious disease and see a display of all the diseases that contain that symptom. You’re sure to find the reason for your patient’s problem.
11. Harriet Lane Handbook: If you work in peds, this app is just the one you need. It focuses on the conditions of childhood, how to dose medications for children and immunization schedules. When working with kids, you have to know a different set of rules, and this is the handbook for that.
12. MRSA eGuideline: MRSA is a big problem in hospitals today, and you need to know the information that’s going to help keep your patients safe from this condition. This app talks about vancomycin dosing, drug information and how to deal with MRSA in infants.
13. Symptomia: This is another app that allows you to input a symptom, and it will return for you all possible diseases that have that symptom. It includes information on abdominal distention, vertigo and coughing, among other common symptoms.
14. The Color Atlas of Family Medicine: This app comes with a hefty price tag of $95, but is worth the investment for the full-color pictures on your phone or iPad that show common skin conditions, rashes and other conditions in a glorious multimedia presentation.
15. Anesthesia Drugs: Fast: If you’re working in the OR or studying to become a nurse anesthetist, this will come in handy for calculating your drug dosages. Simply enter a weight and the proper dose is given to you for a wide range of anesthesia drugs.
16. Med Mnemonics: We all need help remembering the vast amount of information that comes at us in nursing school and on the job. One of the easiest ways to remember is with mnemonics that help to jog your memory. This app lists all the common aides to studying in a simple format.
17. Heart Murmur Pro: The Heart Sound Database: Sometimes it’s hard to know what sounds are important when listening to the heart with your stethoscope. This app has a collection of the common and uncommon heart sounds so that you can learn to identify them.
18. palmPEDi: Pediatric Emergency Medicine Tape for the PICU, OR, ED: When working with children in critical care areas, you need to know the equipment sizes, drug doses and other peds-specific knowledge to act fast. This app puts all of that information on your phone and at your command.
19. Medscape: This app gives you the latest in medical news right at your fingertips. You can also look up unknown drugs, conditions and procedures directly from the app. The icing on the cake? It’s totally free!
20. Davis’s Drug Guide 2012: This is the go-to guide for nurses when they want to look up the actions of a medication. This app is a little more pricey than some other apps, but the fact that it is made by Davis and has such a great reputation as a guide for nurses makes it worth the price.

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Lynda Lampert

Lynda Lampert is a registered nurse and a certified third shift worker. She has worked with many different patient populations, including post-op open heart, post-op gastric bypass, active chest pain, congestive heart failure, poorly controlled diabetics and telemetry 'wonders'. She now focuses all of her effort on educating the populace -- both the nursing world and the normal folk -- through her web writing. She hopes one day to publish another romance novel, travel to England and become a web rock star. She feels she is on her way . . . mostly. You can learn more about Lynda and her work at lyndalampert.com.
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8 Responses to 20 mobile apps for nurses in 2012

  1. Malenurse1 RN

    I actually have alot of these apps and use them daily! One of the nicest is Skyscapes Nursing Constellation that incorperates many different apps for ease of access. Absolutely LOVE the Pill Identifier app, especially when you find the small unidentified pill in your patients bed!

  2. Travelnurse01

    I work in the NICU. Is there any apps just for our smallest of pts?

    • mlscha Fan

      The Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group is working on a NICU dosing app with its partner, Dr. Broselow. In the meantime, I’d recommend Dr. Broselow’s app, SafeDose (or the free version, SafeDoseFree). Much more comprehensive than the Anesthesia drugs app.

  3. mssjez

    I’m glad this was posted! I would really love to see an article like this in the student forum that has useful apps on a student budget (aka as close to free as possible!).

  4. Pingback: Chat 129: An Apps Pharmacy Coming to a Neighbourhood Near You | Colleen Young

  5. LnDrn3

    As an OB nurse my favorite pregnancy wheel app is Perfect Wheel…I have used it for years and recommended it to plenty of coworkers who also love it…

  6. Don’t forget time management! For me that’s one of the hardest parts of the job. The app: http://www.nursemind.com and the reasoning behind it: http://www.nursing.keller.com/whatshard.html

  7. slnicholas

    I also highly recommend iTriage!