Apps are a way of life. In 2019, there were 204 billion mobile app downloads worldwide, according to Statista. TechCrunch reports that the average smartphone owner uses over 30 apps a month.

Social media apps may be among the most popular, but nurses will find no shortage of other apps to improve their practice. Here are five popular nursing apps to consider.

1. Epocrates

A good place to get started is with an app that targets patient safety. Medical error is a leading cause of death in the United States. A Johns Hopkins study found that medical error results in more than 250,000 deaths each year. Adverse drug events (ADEs) are among the most common and preventable types of medical error.

Epocrates can help prevent ADEs. With easy to access information on dosing, black box warnings, adverse reactions, alternative medicines and more, Epocrates is like having a pharmacist at your side. $174.99/year; a free version is also available.

2. Resuscitation!

“You are on labor and delivery and a patient who is 36 weeks pregnant is brought in with severe pain over the uterus …” This award-winning, case-based patient simulator was designed by an emergency physician.

Take a history, perform an exam, develop differential and final diagnoses, perform procedures, administer medication and more. Reviews describe Resuscitation! as “entertaining and challenging,” “very realistic” and “massively educational.” Free, with additional content priced at $3.99­–$9.99.

3. Nursing Dictionary

Providing safe, quality patient care depends on a thorough knowledge of medical terminology. The use of abbreviations in documentation is one example. While using abbreviations can save time, incorrect abbreviations may put patients at serious risk of harm.

There is more than one way to build knowledge of medical terminology, such as with flash cards. But on the job, the Nursing Dictionary can make all the difference. This free app puts clear definitions of 56,000 medical terms, including abbreviations and acronyms, in one place. Handy features include voice search and unlimited bookmarks for fast access.

4. NurseGrid Mobile

This free calendar app is designed for nurses, by nurses. NurseGrid Mobile syncs with other calendar apps to coordinate work and life. RNs can share their shift schedule with friends, family and coworkers.

RNs can use the app to see who they will be working with on a shift or use the app to coordinate a social event. On a social note, NurseGrid makes it easy to connect with friends in the nursing profession, near and far.

5. InsightTimer

Okay, InsightTimer is not an app exclusive to nursing. It is a library of thousands of free meditations to improve sleep, reduce anxiety and manage stress. Nursing is recognized as one of the most stressful professions out there, so it’s no surprise a 2017 Harris Poll found that 54% of nurses rate their stress level in the workplace as “high,” with 70% reporting burnout. The meditations in the InsightTimer app range from one minute to an hour or longer, providing nurses with self-care tools right on their smartphones.

The authors of “The Mindful Nurse” report that mindfulness training can reduce stress and burnout. It can also improve empathy, job satisfaction and a sense of well-being. With today’s nursing shortage, improving retention is critical. Reducing stress and burnout is a step in the right direction.

These are just a few of many nursing apps that can boost skills and knowledge, improve organization and decrease stress. And as Resuscitation! shows, some nursing apps make it possible to have fun in the process.

Nursing apps — many of them free or low-cost — can add to the skills and knowledge gained through a nursing education. Earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) can further prepare RNs with the leadership and clinical skills to advance their careers. Eastern Michigan University (EMU) offers an affordable RN to BSN program that students can complete in as few as 12 months. 

Learn more about EMU’s online RN to BSN program


Statista: Mobile App Usage – Statistics & Facts

Tech Crunch: Report: Smartphone Owners Are Using 9 Apps Per Day, 30 Per Month


Johns Hopkins Medicine: Study Suggests Medical Errors Now Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.

EM Gladiators: Resuscitation! – Virtual Learning for Healthcare Students

Nursing Dictionary by Farlex



PR Newswire: The Nursing Skills Gap Continues to Grow While 70 Percent of Nurses Feel Burnt Out in Their Current Job, According to New CareerBuilder Survey

American Nurse: The Mindful Nurse