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10 Free Nursing Apps for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

The general direction of nursing in the Philippines is global competitiveness.  And to be called globally competitive, the Filipino nurse must keep abreast with the current trends in the practice of nursing, especially with the latest updates in Nursing Informatics. 

While we have become very familiar with reliable nursing practices such as pen-and-paper recording of patient data, we have to be progressive and utilize the current trends in information technology.  After all, the application of the current trends in information technology in the practice of nursing will help us deliver efficient, quality, and more timely patient care. 

Since the daily workload of a nurse involves the generation, management, and processing of patient data,  the use of wireless devices such as Pocket PCs, PDAs,  iPhones, and even the iPod Touch have become commonplace.  In fact, many developers have released applications designed to help nurses improve efficiency on the job and reduce errors in the clinical setting.

The authors of Pinoy R.N. and Ward Class have tried a number of Free iPod Touch and iPhone applications for nurses. Here are some of the more useful ones:

  • Medscape.  A very useful application  from WebMD,  Medscape’s best features include the drug reference, drug interaction checker, and specialty-specific  news and updates.    It is very easy to use and lets users save articles and search results for future reference.
  •  Black Bag.  A free  medical resource for healthcare professionals, Black Bag provides access to news feeds, journal summaries, conference coverage, podcasts, and newscasts on categories ranging from allergy to nursing to women’s health.  It is even customizable for an enhanced user experience.
  • Epocrates RX.  Currently on Version 3.1, Epocrates Rx is a free mobile  drug reference that includes drug information, formulary, pill identifiers, drug interaction checker, medical calculators, clinical updates, and research articles.
  • Eponyms (for students).  The free version of Eponyms provides a brief description of more than 1700 medical eponyms.  It also includes a search feature that allows users to search eponyms by category.  Be sure to try “learn” mode in the options section of Eponyms (for students), it’s fun.
  • ABG. The ABG for the iPhone and iPod Touch is a free medical calculator that allows users to analyse arterial blood gas, calculate the FiO2 to achieve a desired PO2, compute IV drip rate and other hemodynamic calculations.
  • MedCalc. MedCalc is a free medical calculator that provides a large selection of relevant medical formulas.  The application supports US and SI units and features a customizable list of favorites and recently used medical formulas.  Users also have the option to search for medical formulas by name or keywords.
  • Medical Encyclopedia. University of Maryland Medical Center’s Medical Encyclopedia app for the iPhone and iPod Touch provides users with relevant  information on diseases, injuries, symptoms, different types of surgery, poisons, and laboratory tests.  The user interface is also clean and easy to navigate.
  • WebMD Mobile. WebMD mobile provides the nurse trusted medical information on demand. Information on symptoms, treatment, and even first aid is readily available.
  • Skeletal System (Head and Neck).  Developed by, this medical application for the iPhone and iPod Touch has great graphics and illustrations.  It also allows users to change the background color and features a smooth zoom in/zoom out function.
  • Skyscape Medical Resources.  The Skyscape Medical Resources is a useful app for nurses and nursing students alike.  The medical application provides useful information on OTC  and prescription medications.  Also very organized and very easy to use.

In addition to the 10 apps mentioned above, it is also recommended that nurses and student nurses download Stanza for the iPhone/iPod Touch and Stanza Desktop.  Stanza Desktop supports most file formats including PDF  and it enables users to share e-books and PDF files, like the review notes found in the Pinoy R.N. downloads section, to the iPhone or iPod Touch.  Once shared, users will be able to access their PDF files via the Stanza app on the iPhone or iPod Touch anytime.  Yes, even during clinicals. 

However, it should be noted that while we consider  these nifty applications as technological wonders, there is no substitute to good critical thinking and a keen clinical eye.  Thus, nurses must exercise professional  judgment and critical thinking, and take into consideration general nursing knowledge when using the above-mentioned medical applications.

Free iPhone and iPod touch apps for nurses
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