6 actually useful apps for nurses

Quote - Can Never Wash Hands Enough 575x575 PNG copyI title this article actually useful apps, because most other “top apps” articles list a lot of reference apps (pharmacology, procedures, labs, medical terminology).

Sure, those are nice, but I find it easier most of the time to just type what I’m looking for into a search engine or use your documentation software’s built-in reference.

These are apps (and app categories) that I found actually useful – helping you function and save time at work!

1. A Multi Timer App. These apps aren’t made for or meant for nurses – but they work perfectly for us! Many timer apps don’t let you create multiple timers and label them. Get one that does. No more mental notes. Just add a timer, label it, and go on about your business. If it goes off, and you need a few more minutes, many have customized ‘snooze’ buttons – so you can choose how much more time you need before it reminds you again. Other common features: one swipe muting, stopwatches, and widgets.

2. Nurse Notepad. The only paid app on this list (currently at $1.99), but with some useful features targeted directly to help out your workday. It lets you write down “QuickNotes:” recording pain interventions, vitals, PRN medications given, ADLs, and all kinds of other things you’d normally jot down on a scratch piece of paper (that ends up lost in a somebody’s room or thrown away by some desk-cleaning busybody). It’s even organized by patients and rooms – so you can keep track of what you’ve done for each of your patients. Apple / Android

3. A Fake Call App. These are clever apps that…let you simulate a fake call! Many of these apps even let you choose a fake (or real) contact to display from your contact list, and even play a fake voice to go along with the call! The one caveat is that often you’re not supposed to even have your personal phone out while working – but if you can pretend it’s your work phone, a doc calling you on your cell phone, or an important personal call, you can get out of some time-consuming or annoying situations. Useful in other social situations outside work as well. Use your imagination!

4. Pill Identifier. The most popular one is Drugs.com’s pill identifier (currently only for Apple users). You can also just go onto their website to do this. You can input the shape, color, or printed lettering on any pill and it will tell you what medication it is. Supremely useful when you come across a stray pill on your patient’s bedside table or accidentally dropped one and need a replacement! This is also really useful for triage, admission, or home health nurses – patients often like to bring in their medications in unlabeled weekly planners, unmarked bottles and even ziploc bags. Yikes!

5. Instant Heart Rate App. This app claims to be able to measure yours or anyone’s heart rate. All you have to do is put your finger on your phone’s camera lens. It will turn on your flashlight and measure your pulse rate! It actually claims to use the same technology as pulse oximeters – using color changes in your finger to detect a pulse. It made sense to me from a technical standpoint – but I wondered if it would really work. It’s free – and I tested it out. I was amazed to find out that it does actually work! So if you’re in need of a heart rate, but don’t have a pulse ox to lug around, this app could actually come into use. Apple / Android

6. Google Translate. This one isn’t targeted for nurses either – but I use it all the time! Sometimes you don’t need to get an interpreter – you just need to ask a simple question or know a simple phrase to communicate with a patient. This app lets you type or speak into it, and it will output both an audio and written translation in the language of your choosing! You can even have conversations by having the patient speak into your phone’s speaker in their language- and having it translated into English. A popular Apple alternative is iTranslate.

Kevin is an RN and President of Brilliant Nurse. He unapologetically owns no Apple devices – and hopes it doesn’t show in his articles!

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