mobile appThe mobile phone has quickly become one of the most important tools in the travel nursing career toolbox. When you’re a travel nurse, your phone is likely be one of your most reliable resources. You find yourself on a travel nursing job in a new location, where everything is changing around you, but you always know how to find that vital info on your mobile. There are thousands of nursing apps out there for your phone — and new ones coming on the market every day. Nothing’s ever going to substitute for your RN training or those essential nursing instincts, but phones are a great way to access tons of data, fast. So they’re a natural for medical dictionaries, calculators, procedural guidelines and diagnostic references.

Here’s just a few of the most frequently downloaded nursing apps, according to the iphone appstore and the android marketplace*. Used well, these apps can make your travel nursing experience even more productive.

1. Epocrates Essentials: A complete drug reference, disease database, pill identifier, drug interaction guide, lab test reference and infectious disease guide. Limited reference edition also available as free download.

Available for: iphone android blackberry, palm, windows mobile
Cost: Free basic download, add-on modules approximately $160/year

2. Skyscape Medical Resources: Basic free app provides drug information and medical calculators. Additional modules such as the Nursing Therapeutic Manual, Netters Atlas of Human Anatomy, and the Merck Manual can be purchased

Available for: iphone, android, blackberry
Cost: Free basic app, additional modules $10 to $100+

3. MedCalc: Medical calculator provides online equations, criteria sets, dose converters and decision trees

Available for: iphone, android, blackberry, windows mobile
Cost: $10

4. Nursing Central: Disease, drug, and test information for nurses. Includes literature searching, study system, drug guide, lab and diagnostic test reference, diseases and disorders reference, handbook of nursing diagnoses and Taber’s dictionary.

Available for: iphone, android, blackberry, windows mobile
Cost: $160/year

5. Critical Care ACLS Guide: A guide to current ACLS guidelines and emergency procedures for use by ED or EMT

Available for iphone, android
Cost: $8

6. Lab Values Pro: Lab reference values, medical abbreviations, medical prefixes and suffixes. Links to Clinilab Navigator, Lab Tests Online, WebMD and other resources.

Available for iphone
Cost: $3

7. iPharmacy Pill Identifier and Medication Reference Support: Pill identifier, prescription reference, pharmacy locator and ratings and comments for consumers and medical professionals. Basic app is free (or almost free).

Available for iphone, android
Cost: $0-$2

While healthcare employers have grown used to nurses referring to their phones for on-the-spot-info at work, travel nurses aren’t always on the hospital floor … after all there’s the “travel” part of the job, too. When you’re on the way to your travel nursing job –or exploring your new location– you may find these popular mobile apps handy:

8. iExit Interstate Exit Guide: Say you’re traveling from a texas travel nursing job to a California travel nursing job. This app lets you know about gas stations, restaurants, lodging, and attractions at freeway exits along your way. Includes customer ratings, comments and online maps to make your trip as pleasant as possible.

Available for iphone, android
Cost: $0-$1

9. MotionX for GPS Drive: turn-by-turn voice guidance, traffic advisories, fastest route planning. Free initial basic download, after free 30 day trial purchase of additional add-ons available – from $1 to $30 per year

Available for iphone
Cost: Free trial, paid add-ons available

10. TripAdvisor: Info on hotels, flights, restaurants, and attractions nationwide. Loads of customer reviews and photos. Make reservations and find entertaining things to do wherever you are.

Available for iphone, android
Cost: Basic app is free. Upgrades available.

Got a favorite app when you’re at work — or just out enjoying yourself? We’d love to hear about it.

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*Costs and availability are approximate according to manufacturer and vendor websites, as of June 2012,