Technology can aid just about every conceivable job type and industry in today’s world. The ubiquity of apps and digital devices and technology’s stunning pace of advancement in recent years has made technology an almost constant companion for every professional. The realm of nursing is no exception.
As a practicing nurse, several helpful tools exist that benefit your work and are worth incorporating into your work routine. These range from reference apps to timers and practice guides to wellness reminders. These helpful tools can be accessible on your smartphone at a moment’s notice. And apps that can aid you in your in-person care are just the beginning.
This article will also explore the rising realities and advantages of conducting care via telehealth platforms and explore some of the tools that have proven most capable of helping you integrate telehealth into your practice as applicable.
Table of Contents
There’s an App for That
First, let’s explore some of the categories in which valuable apps have been built and are often available for free or at a reasonable cost that can aid your nursing practice. These are apps that many nurses recommend or have used with great success.
Apps can help nurses increase the quality of their care provision, streamline their process flows, minimize mistakes, and make their days move more efficiently and effectively.
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Unit Conversion Tools
These are convenient apps to keep available on your phone. Primary unit converters can quickly calculate helpful figures like temperature, volume, mass, etc. For instance, unit converters quickly help you translate measurements that might be printed or delivered in different units than your hospital or practice or patients would use.
There are plenty of unit converter apps available for free (or that will allow essential use for free) and offer a range of conversion types. Medical or more industry-specific converters are available as well. Try searching for “Convert Units” or “Unit Converter” in your device’s app store to get started.
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Wearable Technology Apps
Quickly gaining popularity, these can benefit nurses to achieve personal fitness and wellness tracking during their shifts and be helpful for patient monitoring.
Assessment technologies of many kinds are becoming more and more adept at delivering timely, critical information to medical personnel. You can incorporate these into patient care practice to help better monitor and report on vital signs, progress, and other essential metrics.
As mentioned above, wearable technology can also be helpful for nurses that want to be mindful of their wellness on the job. Smartphone apps that act as step trackers, heart rate monitors, stress analyzers, and more can often be used with or without additional devices or hardware.
These apps are becoming steadily more sophisticated and can provide insights into your state and health, both in the moment and over time. Staying apprised of your health, stress, fatigue, and fitness levels can warn you when you might be too tired or compromised to make essential decisions, ensure you’re taking adequate breaks not to compromise your performance, and keep your wellness in good form.
These apps provide a family of helpful resources that you can access from your phone at any time:
You can utilize RN-specific practice guides to check the standard protocol, refresh your memory on pertinent information that can aid your care delivery, etc. One example of this app is NCLEX RN Mastery, geared explicitly towards studying for the NCLEX RN exam. Another guide developed for multiple types of medical professionals, including nursing, is called PEPID.
Academic libraries and medical journals can be a robust way of staying apprised of current research and best practice. These can also provide helpful resources to direct patients towards when they have questions or would like to understand better the care they are receiving.
Medscape (produced by WebMD) is an example of a free app that aggregates helpful guides, journal publications, and other types of information to have available whenever you need it. Nursing Central is a similar app that provides helpful information specifically for nurses.
Similarly, medical dictionaries provide quick references that can be useful when writing or reading case notes, studying journals, and reading pharmaceutical terms and descriptions. Taber’s Medical Dictionary is a notable example of this type of app.
Prescription aids, medication guides, and drug interaction checkers provide helpful and sometimes vital support when working with prescriptions. When responsible for prescribing medication, it is imperative that nurses vigilantly stay up to date on medication research and remain familiar with the potentially harmful effects of adverse drug reactions and interactions.
These resources can provide an at-a-glance resource for avoiding problematic drug use and medication issues. One example of a medication library app is NCSBN Learning Extension, designed for care providers still engaged in their studies but can be helpful for anyone who wants an easy-to-use medication reference. Another medication cross-reference resource worth looking up is called Epocrates.
Flashcard apps can be helpful but are especially advantageous for nurses undergoing continuing education or completing residencies or training programs. Flashcards or study apps often allow you to access pre-built banks of questions and subjects to study. Using flashcards strengthens learning, recall, and synthesis in small bits of interaction.
These resources can provide an easy way of cementing knowledge over time without finding concerted blocks of time to study textbooks or do active research. Similarly, Med Mnemonics is an example of a study aid and memory tool for studying nurses and other medical students preparing for exams.
Other Useful Apps that Can Prove Beneficial for Nurses
Shift Management Apps
These apps can provide a range of functionalities and streamline communication between yourself, shift leaders, management, peers, and other colleagues. They can mitigate scheduling mistakes and make it easier to plan your schedule both on the job and outside it. NurseGrid is an example of this type of tool. It was built by and for nurses and is designed to help improve what can otherwise become tedious and error-prone processes.
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Medication timers and other alert and reminder apps can assist you when you are responsible for doling out medication at prescribed intervals or for giving timing-dependent care of any kind.
Apps like Medisafe, Pill Reminder, and Med Tracker provide this type of functionality. You can use these directly or can be suggested for patients either during inpatient or outpatient care to help self-manage their medications.
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There is a slew of wellness apps for you to choose from. They can range from mindfulness and meditation apps that guide you through breathing exercises and meditation to timeout apps, wellness assessment apps, get-outside apps, etc. These tools can help you maintain your stamina, attention to detail, stress levels, and emotional wellbeing while on the job.
Maintaining a healthy, active state of mind conducive to effective decision-making and empathetic interpersonal interactions can be hugely difficult for nurses and often requires intentional, proactive action.
Though some healthcare organizations and practices do an excellent job of managing this for their staff, this won’t always be the case. Ultimately, it is up to you to help yourself maintain your effectiveness as a practicing medical professional. These tools can help you do that.
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Telehealth: The Future of Healthcare Provision?
While telehealth will likely never replace some forms of in-person care, it can benefit certain types of practice and is quickly becoming adopted as a mainstay in care provision. Because of telehealth’s substantial advantages, more and more healthcare entities and practicing nurses incorporate it into their workflows, offerings, and careers.
Many of those benefits (including telehealth’s convenience and streamlining and the versatile nature that allows it to provide a second income for many medical professionals) are enticing and helpful for care providers. The barrier of entry is relatively low for medical providers. The opportunity is worth considering.
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There are many types of telehealth platforms on the market. Each boasts different strengths and is available with various features and advantages. The following few examples are some of the more recognized and heralded telehealth products currently on the market. However, based on your unique needs and setup, there may be others more suited to your practice or your interests in engaging with telehealthcare provision.
One of the highest-ranking telehealth products currently available is MDLIVE. This enterprise-level offering provides a network that individual care providers can join to build their telehealth incomes and software solutions for hospitals and other healthcare provider organizations to facilitate offering telehealth services.
Doctor On Demand (DOD) is another platform option for individual medical service providers that would like to become telehealth providers. Lauded for its ease of use, Doctor On Demand allows medical professionals to register as a part of their network and receive virtual clients. The platform is robust and well-built. DOD is also partnered with Included Health, an enterprise-level healthcare solution for corporations and other client types.
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Another strong contender in the telehealth field is Amwell, a full suite of product offerings and opportunities. Amwell offers an enterprise-level software solution for healthcare organizations and entities that want to incorporate telehealth into their offerings.
It also maintains an active group of providers who can work through freelancing capacity. Thus, allowing medical professionals to earn extra income or transition more of their bandwidth to telehealth provision.
For those interested in prescribing for mental health conditions or licensed to provide counseling or mental health services, Talkspace is another option for registering as an independent provider and earning income. Their platform can manage all the operational and administrative necessities so that you can concentrate on providing care. Betterhelp is a similar counseling-specific example that also offers these types of opportunities.
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Finally, having been recommended as one of the best tools and opportunities on the market for medical care specialists, Teladoc will round out our list of telehealth services. They boast software and platform options like others mentioned above. Healthcare organizations in their practices can utilize Teladoc’s software solution.
Similarly, Teladoc also maintains a self-reported “leading virtual medical group” that employs care providers worldwide to provide telehealth consultations to a growing patient market.
They take care of all the administrative work necessary to provide medical care, allowing you as a healthcare provider to set your schedule and engage in the workload that fits your needs and lifestyle. They have medical provider job listings maintained on their provider page and accept providers on an application basis.
These are not the only telehealth platform options and opportunities out there. This list will help get you started if you are interested in pursuing telehealth opportunities to broaden or shift your career.
Whether you’d like to move your care provision into an entirely self-managed and remote-accessible existence, want to be able to pick up an extra consulting appointment now and again, or are interested in building a lucrative after-hours income for yourself on top of a current job, telehealth opportunities for medical care providers can allow you to do all of those things and more.
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Lemonaid is a prescription delivery platform that can help patients and practitioners better access and deliver automatic or repeating prescriptions. While not an app or a telehealth platform, this (and similar offerings) is a helpful product to know whether you run your practice, work for a hospital or clinic, or practice nursing via some other means.
Though it can take a little bit of sifting and testing to determine what apps and tools are most beneficial for you and your role, taking the time to implement helpful apps can create huge returns for your nursing practice.
Whether by saving time, mitigating stress and frustration, helping you avoid mistakes, promoting a better quality of life or work/life balance, making better information available to you at a moment’s notice, or achieving other positive outcomes, technology in the form of apps and other available tools can change the way you provide care and experience your career as a nurse.