Beth Israel nurse creates free app ‘Nurse Net’

Nurse Robert Freeman's free app helps nurses decode thousands of medical abbreviations they see on charts

Published: Monday, January 30, 2012
by Clem Richardson

When Apple accepted his app in November, Robert “Robbie” Freeman said he would have been happy if 1,000 people downloaded it in the first year.

A little over 60 days later, more than 12,000 people have downloaded Freeman’s “Nurse Net” app, and the 26-year-old registered nurse could not be happier - even though he has not made a dime on the deal, since he demanded the app be free.

“People all over the world are downloading it,” Freeman said. “They’ve really embraced it. I really wanted it to be something everyone can use.”

freeman resized 600Freeman is a registered nurse and staff nurse at Beth Israel Hospital. Last year he won both the 2011 Novice Nurse of the Year from his employer, Beth Israel Medical Center, and the Novice Nurse of the Year, Nurse of Distinction award from 1199/Service Employees International Union.

He used the money from the award to come up with his app after realizing the need.

“I was speaking to my nurse colleagues about the things we would love to see in an app, tools that would help us deliver care and help us practice our profession,” Freeman said. “My generation, the millennial generation, really have embraced apps, but there are not a lot of them out there for nurses, even though nurses make up the largest group of health professionals in the country.”

Nurse Net’s tools include a News Reader, which gathers medical news from the top nursing websites and media outlets.

“Health care is always changing and the standards of care are always evolving,” Freeman said. “It’s important to stay up to date. With the reader you can keep up with the latest medical news.”

The Abbreviation Assistant decodes more than 10,000 medical abbreviations nurses are liable to encounter on medical charts, like HLD, which stands for Hyperlipidemia, high levels of fat in the blood.

“The idea came to me one day when a colleague said she saw this abbreviation on a chart and didn’t know what it meant,” Freeman said. “Health care has a culture of abbreviating everything, so sometimes it’s hard to keep up.

“This can help with patient safety, because if you are unsure of an abbreviation it could compromise treatment plans,” he said.

The Credentialer does the same as the abbreviation assistant, only for degrees or credentials health professionals list after their names.

“We have a lot of certifications and specialities in medicine, and with each degree, exam and organization comes another set of initials,” Freeman said. “Sometimes there are all sorts of initials after a name and it’s not always apparent what they mean. You put the abbreviation in the app and it tells you what it means.”


A graduate of both the University of Albany and Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing, Freeman works on the Chris and Morton P. Hyman Patient Care Unit at Beth Israel.

He turned to friend Daniel Delphin, founder of DS410 a New York City based Mobile Application Company, for the technical work on his app, but did most of the research himself over a three-month period.

A former Long Island Athlete of the Year (2003) for his long distance running, Freeman is committed to helping others: after completing nursing school he spent three weeks with an American medical team doing free work in rural Kenya, East Africa.

The Nurse Net app, he said, is just more of the same.

“I have no interest in making a profit here,” Freeman said. “The nursing community as a whole has given me so much. I felt very strongly I wanted this to be a free app. People in nursing school will benefit from it the most, and they are already saddled with fees. I didn’t want this to be another fee they had to pay.

“To be able to allow nurses to go to work and improve the safety of the care they give their patients while letting them be more efficient and productive, how can I not give that for free?”

The Nursing Net app is available at the Apple Store.

Read more:

Subscribe to Email Our Newsletter


Recent Posts

Tips For Nurses Working Through The Holidays
Many people look forward to the holidays, however it can be a stressful time for Nurses working through the holiday season and missing festivities. Here are several tips to help make working through...
Read More
Caring for Patients With Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer Disease (AD) is the most common type of dementia, accounting for at least 2/3 of the cases of dementia in people age 65 and older. AD is a neurodegenerative disease that causes progressive...
Read More
Best Practices In Caring For Patients With Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities
Patients with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (IDDs) have unique needs. It is important Nurses know how to properly provide  care, and make health care more accessible for this population.
Read More