Best apps for nurses
Career Resources

Best Apps for Nurses

We’re all glued to our phones. Research the various studies conducted over the last year, and you’ll find varying amounts of time respondents say they spend on their phones, but it ranges between 3.5 and 5.5+ hours every day. Our phones are a source of so many things we regularly use, like social media, text messaging, making phone calls and browsing the internet, so it’s not surprising that the time the average person spends using their cell phones is so high.

Nurses are constantly on the move, running from patient to patient, with little time to sit down at a computer to do research in between. So, they naturally use their phones and apps to help them do their jobs better. Nurses can bring their phones with them into a patient’s room, they fit easily into scrub pockets and they’re helpful when they need to look up something quickly. In this article, we cover the best apps for nurses and why you should consider downloading them.

Quick Reference Apps for Nurses on the Job

1. Medscape

Medscape is a collection of medical news, education and clinical references. You can download the app to computers, phones, iPads and other devices for quick reference while at work. It also has a podcast hub where you can listen to recommended episodes of the best shows picked by Medscape. Nurses and allied health professionals may use Medscape to stay up to date on all the latest medical news. 

The Medscape app is free and has no subscriptions or hidden fees. You can purchase many things on it, like journals and courses, but basic medical news is available to everyone. Available on iPhone or Android

2. UpToDate

UpToDate is a medical reference site and app containing the most up-to-date clinical guidelines research. You can find anything, including first-line treatments, medication information and symptoms and how to diagnose them. When you use UpToDate, you see how often you reference it throughout the day while caring for your patients. There are also a lot of algorithms for how to go about diagnosing specific complaints, step-by-step guides for procedures and other helpful references on the go.

An UpToDate subscription is pricey, but most medical organizations, like hospitals or even individual clinics, have a subscription all their employees can use. Check with your manager and see if this is something your organization offers its nurses. Available on iPhone or Android

3. GoodRx

GoodRx is a website and app offering coupons for medications. Individuals can use these coupons without insurance to drastically improve the price of medications. If you’re working on a unit and discharging a patient, check GoodRx with them, get some coupons, print them and hand them off to your patient. Saving money on their medications may increase compliance, and nurses have the opportunity to provide better care.

GoodRx is free. Anyone can use it on the website or the iPhone or Android app.

4. Epocrates

Epocrates is a drug reference guide you can search on the internet or through an app you download to your phone. Type the drug’s name into the search bar, and Epocrates pulls up everything on the drug, including administration methods, dosing parameters, side effects, whether it’s safe during pregnancy and lactation and more. This app is perfect for medication administration questions and patient education regarding side effects.

Epocrates also helps with dosing, such as calculating the rate you need to enter into the IV pump, how far apart doses should be or calculating doses based on the patient’s current weight. It contains interaction checks where you enter all your patient’s medications to ensure none of them interact with each other. Epocrates lists side effects so you can monitor for these effects or teach your patients to monitor for them.

The basic app is free, with the option to buy more access and offers. However, you get the basic drug information you need with the free versions without a problem. Available on iPhone or Android

5. MDCalc

MDCalc is a website and application that provides a collection of screening tools, calculators and more. It includes point-of-care clinical decision-support tools, medical calculators, scoring systems and algorithms. Examples include stroke assessments, DVT scoring systems and medication dose calculators. The data is invaluable when assessing patients and calculating something without doing all the extra math. You can search specifics, scroll through the most popular support tools or even filter by specialty. The app has guidelines for these tools, like what to do after completing the assessment.

Nurses can use this free tool on the website or using the iPhone or Android app.

6. MediBabble Translator

At some point, most nurses in the United States will care for patients who speak a different language. While most hospitals have translator services, they can be hard to use or sometimes unavailable, making the MediBabble Translator app invaluable. You can load up to five languages on the app and use it to translate what you and your patient say. It can be so helpful, especially if you have just one quick question to ask them.

This app is free, but you can only download it onto an iPhone. Some examples of similar apps you can download to an Android include Google Translate and Microsoft Translator.

7. Lab Values Reference

The Lab Values Reference app contains all types of lab tests, their normal ranges and what abnormalities could mean. It includes reasons why a specific lab may be high or low, critical values and treatment methods. The data can be extremely helpful when interpreting lab results and deciding whether you should call a physician. The app contains 100s of labs, from the most common to rare tests, so you’ll find everything you could need.

It can be referenced quickly between patients and help you interpret your labs and learn what could be causing some abnormal levels and what to do next. Available on iPhone and Android for $2.99

Apps for Students or Learning New Skills

Apps for nursing students

8. Skills Hub

Skills Hub is an app to help nurses improve their procedure skills with videos, step-by-step tutorials and evidence-based practices. You can watch videos on changing a central line dressing before doing it for the first time. You can reference the step-by-step guide for how to pull a Swan catheter before you have to do it. Doing a procedure for the first time can always be intimidating, but this app can help you feel more confident.

Skills Hub is free and easy to reference on the website if you want to see a procedure on a little bigger screen or use it on the go with the iPhone and Android app.


PEPID is excellent for students because it has medication references, screening tools, pill references and more. It’s easy to use while at clinical and has the largest database on the market, so you won’t get confused using multiple apps to look things up.

The app is free and has other apps to complement it, like PEPID Flashcards, to help you study what you’ve learned. Available on iPhone and Android

10. Picmonic

Picmonic is an app full of quick videos and references with simple, easy-to-remember mnemonics. This app has flashcards and quizzes after you learn the mnemonic to help you retain new things, so it’s great to use as a student in nursing school.

The app is free but offers in-app purchases for more features for use on the iPhone and Android.

11. Saunders NCLEX Comprehensive Review

This app is designed for future nurses preparing for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). It provides intensive study materials and over 6,000 NCLEX-specific examination questions you can take on the go, including Next-Gen NCLEX questions. It also includes a course review.

The app comes with a free trial but requires a subscription after the free trial ends. Available on iPhone and Android

12. Nursing Central

Nursing Central is fantastic for nursing students and new nurses, providing everything you could need in school or on the floor during orientation. It combines five popular apps, including:

  1. Davis’s Drug Guide
  2. Taber’s Medical Dictionary
  3. Davis’s Laboratory
  4. Diagnostic Tests, Diseases & Disorders
  5. Prime PubMed

The app is free with a free trial but requires a subscription once the trial ends. Available on iPhone and Android

Apps for Specialty Nurses

Specialty apps for nurses

13. Pedi Quick Calc

The Pedi Quick Calc app is a must for nurses working with children. It provides instant access to weight-based medication doses, conversions and intravenous (IV) fluid rates. You can enter the patient’s weight and calculate the exact dosing for 100s of medications. The app also has expanded functions, such as a growth chart, bilirubin evaluation, body mass index for age and blood pressure percentile. 

There’s a one-time $4.99 fee at purchase, but it’s only available on iPhones. A similar app for Android devices is Pedi STAT at a comparable price of $5.40.

14. Palliative Care Fast Facts

This app is perfect for nurses in palliative care, hospice care or intensive care units. It’s full of quick reference guides for diagnoses, treatments and protocols related to palliative care. It also contains algorithms to help determine which guidelines to use and when.

It’s free to download on iPhone and Android 

15. Oncology Nursing Drug Handbook

The Oncology Nursing Drug Handbook app is perfect for oncology nurses in hospital oncology units, private practice, infusion centers or cancer centers. It contains the most current treatment and medication details for navigating chemotherapy, symptom management and patient education. Chemotherapy medications can be incredibly complicated with dosing, interactions and more.

This reference guide is updated annually, which can be invaluable. The app is free but offers in-app purchases for additional content on iPhone and Android

16. Perfect OB Wheel

This app can be highly beneficial for nurses working anywhere that may involve women or other people of child-bearing age. It digitally replicates the traditional gestational calendar using an intuitive interface that’s easier to use than the traditional paper version. You can track multiple pregnancies while remaining HIPAA compliant, so it’s beneficial for those working in small practices or even nurses working as doulas or in labor and delivery.

The app requires a one-time fee of $1.99 at purchase and offers in-app purchases for more content. Although it’s only available on iPhone, a similar app that’s free to use on Android is OBWheel.

17. Geriatrics at Your Fingertips

Geriatrics at Your Fingertips is helpful for nurses working with elderly adults. It’s a guide for current strategies, evaluations and treatment plans for common geriatric conditions and disorders and how they may appear differently from the same disease in younger patients. Knowing how geriatric patients respond differently to diseases, medications, treatments, etc., is invaluable for a nurse working within this patient population.

It’s free to download but offers in-app purchases for more content on iPhone and Android

Apps for Organization and Self-Care

18. Nurse Grid Scheduler

Nurse Grid Scheduler is a nurse-specific calendar app. You can lay out your schedule by shift and label shifts based on type (night or day) and sync it with your coworkers who also have the app. The app lets you see if you’re working with your favorite coworker before you actually get to work. The combined scheduling information also helps you know who you can swap shifts with if needed. There’s even a chat feature to talk directly with your coworkers about your schedules and shifts without giving out your phone number.

The app is free to download, and it’s free to add as many friends as you want. Available on iPhone and Android

19. Spending Tracker

Spending Tracker is a user-friendly budgeting app recommended for nurses and allied health professionals to stay on track as they move into jobs with better incomes. The app tracks whatever budgets you want, whether weekly or yearly and generates reports to help you track where you’re spending your money.

This app has a one-time payment of $2.99 upon purchase and is available for iPhone and Android devices.

20. Calm

Being a nurse is hard, and taking care of yourself is essential. The Calm app has meditations, music, sleep casts and more to help you relax after or before a shift and on your days off. It’s just as important to take care of yourself as it is to take care of your patients. This app can be especially beneficial to night nurses as the soundscapes help create a relaxing atmosphere while trying to sleep during the day.

It includes a free trial but does require a subscription following the end of the trial. Available on iPhone and Android

21. Keener Self-Care for Nurses

While apps like Calm are great for anyone, Keener offers burnout-specific self-care help for nurses. Keener uses proven strategies to reduce your risk of burnout and focus your energies on self-care. The app contains mindful reflection, self-care and motivational support. It also has a one-of-a-kind Shift Reflection tool that helps you record how you feel after each shift so you can move from hospital to home smoothly.

This free app allows every nurse to access its fantastic content to help prevent burnout. Available on iPhone and Android 

Get Ready to Download

Your preferred app store has an amazing variety of professional and nursing job apps that can benefit nurses and allied health professionals in various ways. This list contains only a few options to help you live your best life and do the best job as a nurse today and in the future. If you use an app that you find especially helpful that’s not listed, please share your recommendation in the comments below.

Are you already using the Vivian app? Find staff and travel jobs, research salary data and complete your universal profile to make job applications a breeze. Download the Vivian Health app from the App Store or Google Play today.

Alison Shely, DNP, FNP-C

Alison Shely, DNP, FNP-C is a nurse practitioner, nurse coach, yoga teacher and nurse writer. She’s been a nurse since 2014, working as an RN and FNP in intensive care, women’s health and primary care. She also serves as a mental health coach to other nurses and healthcare workers, concentrating on healthy lifestyles and mental health.

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