The prevalence of smartphones and tablets has made medical apps available and useful to nurses. Nurses have many things to consider day-to-day: schedules, patient needs, data management, and more. Having access to iOS and Android mobile apps can help nurses become more organized, which ultimately improves patient care quality.
The Prevalence of Technology in Health Care
By virtue of their profession's nature, nurses must be proficient in various areas. Not only do they need to have an accurate understanding of the human body, multiple disease-types, and drug applications, but nurses must also be familiar with specific patient needs and hospital operations.
Though they do not supplement a nurse’s professional preparation, technological advents like smartphone and tablet apps can make a nurse’s position easier by providing quick and easy access to data and information. Not only do such apps spare nurses tedious busy work in clinical practice, but they also increase the amount of time nurses can spend with patients and can help cut organizational expenditures due to extra on-the-clock hours.
How Mobile Technology Benefits Nurses
A 2014 study indicated that of the hospitals surveyed, 67% reported that nurses used cell phones to support clinical communications and workflow. There are countless nursing apps on the market that help nurses and other medical professionals do the following:
- Manage and track projects
- Coordinate scheduling and managing time
- Quickly access databases of information relative to evidence-based practice
- Review dosage calculations
- Reference anatomy and physiology
Some apps can also be bundled into one-stop information solutions thus improving nurse efficiency. Nursing apps are available to clinical and research nurses as well as nursing students and recent graduates.
The Most Useful Apps for Nurses
Given the ever-increasing number of apps available, one of the challenges facing nurses is determining which ones are best for day-to-day use.
Nurses have many responsibilities to keep up with: schedules and shift changes, information gathering, and database entry. Apps can help nurses manage and track information.
- PatientTouch: This management app helps orchestrate people, processes, and data in real time. It works by connecting clinicians and patient care teams to existing electronic health record (EHR) information. This handy app increases safety, quality, efficiency, and nurse satisfaction while also reducing costs but works only on Apple devices.
- Shift Planning: Nurses can best manage their time by creating, organizing, and prioritizing to-do lists and de-cluttering paperwork. This schedule app is beneficial for all types of nurses and nurse administrators and leaders. It allows separate schedules to be set up, includes an SMS notification system, can reach other nurses or fellow staff members in moments, automatically complies with union and government regulations, and automatically schedules nurse rotations. This service must be paid for through the schedule coordinator but the app is free to install on iOS, Android, and BlackBerry.
There are also several all-purpose apps that bundle many of the above features into one handy tool. Two such apps are:
- The Merck Manual for Mobile + Web: This free app functions as the perfect nurse pocket guide. It delivers trusted information about illnesses and can be used in conjunction with the Merck Manual of Patient Systems and the Davis's Drug Guide, which is considered the go-to guide for the actions of medications. This medical directory helps to explain each disease and how it can be recognized.
- Skyscape Medical Resources: This app bundles tools, provides prescription drug information, medical calculations, clinical information, diseases and symptoms, or relevant and timely content relative to journal summaries, drug alerts, and clinical news. Download this all inclusive app here and throw away those laminated pocket cards for good.
Best Apps for Nursing Students
For those who are still in school, focused on continuing education or simply passing exams, these apps for college can offer study materials and simple ways to stay organized.
- NCLEX-Pro: For those students looking to take the NCLEX certification exam within the next few months this app provides the perfect study companion. This app contains medical information as it will be seen on the test in addition to medical abbreviations and custom quizzes.
- Speed Anatomy Quiz: Learning the difference between parts of the body is a very important task for someone in an online nursing program and this app has everything he or she will need to be successful. Those rusty on their nursing school basics should download this quiz now.
- Mini Nurse: This particular free Android app was designed with quick answers in mind. It functions as a nursing reference guide and clinical reference library all in one.
There are many other quick reference apps for helping nurses manage and increase their workday productivity. In turn, this improves patient care and saves money for both the organization and insurance companies over the long-term. The use of accurate and efficient apps, such as those listed above, are sure to enhance nurse's already high-value in the health care industry.
The University of Saint Mary online RN-BSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education1. The RN-BSN program online provides a flexible option for nurses wanting to earn their bachelor’s degree while continuing in the nursing profession. Founded on the Five Cs of caring (commitment, conscience, competence, compassion, and confidence), the program emphasizes critical thinking, decision-making, leadership, and communication—all of which prepare advanced nurses to enhance their health care careers.
1The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at the University of Saint Mary is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 887-6791.