Today’s healthcare industry sees pocket drug reference books being replaced by smartphone applications that enhance the access time and portability of vital information. Online tools for nursing, especially mobile technology, is on the rise. The best online tools and technology are those that minimize medical errors, improve clinical workflow, educate, and enhance a nurse’s overall understanding of the field. However, with what seems like an endless stream of new technology, it’s easy to get lost when trying to determine the best investment.
New technology for nurses, such as apps for mobile devices, can be a great asset or an enormous waste, and for the nurse looking to spend his or her time (and money) wisely, it’s important to have an idea of what really works beforehand.
When choosing to incorporate online tools and technology into a nursing career; it’s not about how many of the “best” downloads and purchases a nurse makes – it’s about selecting the technology that actually simplifies nursing duties, enhances patient care, and effectively educates.
According to Heath Erickson, RN, a Clinical Solution Consultant at PatientSafe Solutions, studies have found that nurses spend less than 20% of their time on direct patient care, which is “largely attributable to technology which does not support their workflow well, administrative duties, documentation, task management, and care team coordination.”
“Rather than bog them down,” he says, “nurses need solutions that can actually help them to do what they do best: deliver high-quality care throughout the patient experience, safely and efficiently.”
Erickson, who has worked as a clinical specialist for technology companies for more than seven years, also says that today’s emerging mobile platforms now enable nurses to save time and energy by offering quick access to patient data, positive identification of patients, safe performance of critical workflows, and effective communication amongst care team members during bedside care and beyond.
However, as new online nursing tools and resources continue to flood the market, sifting through all of the selections can become an overwhelming task.
Let’s take smartphone and tablet apps, for example; there are more than 10,000 healthcare related apps found on the iTunes store alone.
How does a nurse whittle down the tens of thousands of online tools available with the click of a button?
Dawn Cheairs, VP of Strategic Partnerships for DohJe, Inc., suggests keeping an ear to the ground.
“In my research for building DohJe…” says Cheairs, who markets a tool that allows nurses to directly receive, respond to and store inspirational notes/photos online, “…nursing students have indicated that educators and fellow students are the best way to find out about new apps and online technology.”
The following list also touches upon some of the most popular and best online tools for a nursing career:
Tablet and Smartphone Apps for Nurses
Used by over 4 million students, StudyBlue is a mobile and online learning platform that allows a nurse to review notecards, self-quiz, and keep track of his or her progress. Helpful for nursing students and those who wish to continue their education while working in the field, the free study app for iPhone and Android has been described as presenting a personalized “digital backpack” that caters to the individual learning needs of users. Depending on a device, a convenient voice-to-text feature for the online flashcards also enhances a nurse’s ability to incorporate images, videos, text, and sound.