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DiversityNursing Blog

20 mobile apps for nurses in 2012

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Sep 21, 2012 @ 02:25 PM

by Lynda Lampert

Imobile appf you have an iPhone, iPad or other mobile device, you likely have a ton of apps taking up space. While some of those apps are likely tailored for fun (Angry Birds, Words with Friends), there’s no question that you can use your smartphone to serve your nursing career.

Of course, when you’re in your scrubs and ready to tackle the shift, using mobile apps to get information on drugs to anatomy to conditions is a no-brainer way to better treat your patients and keep reference materials easily accessible. Here’s a look at 20 top clinical apps for nurses in 2012!

Not all of these apps are free, but when you think about the great services they provide—such as keeping you on top of ever-changing medical data—it’s well worth the money.

1. Davis Mobile NCLEX-RN Med-Surg: If you’re still a student and studying for your boards, this app will give you questions to answer while you’re waiting for the bus, sitting in front of the television or hanging out between classes. The convenience of questions by phone was unheard of only a few years ago. Now you can study in your downtime.
2. Pill Identifier by Oh no! Your patient accidentally drop his pills on the floor. Unfortunately, you have no idea which medications they were! When you call the pharmacy for new ones, what will you tell them? Pill Identifier lets you look up pills by their common features to find out which ones you need to reorder.
3. Skyscape Medical Resources: This app is a great bundle of useful tools for nurses rolled into one. The free version includes comprehensive info on prescription drugs, a medical calculator by specialty, evidence-based clinical information on hundreds of diseases and symptom-related topics and timely content that nurses need to know on-the-go such as journal summaries, breaking clinical news and drug alerts.
4. Instant ECG: An Electrocardiogram Rhythms Interpretation Guide: With more than 90 high-resolution images of ECGs, this app is perfect for the telemetry nurse who often needs to interpret rhythms. Let’s face it, some of them are just plain tough to remember, and this app makes them easily accessible when you’re stumped.
5. Critical Care ACLS Guide: In addition to laying out the ACLS algorithms, this app has such helpful information as the rule of 9s for burns, chest X-ray interpretation and 12-lead EKG interpretation. This will come in handy for any nurse who is working in the ICU or other critical care area.
6. Fast Facts for Critical Care: In keeping with the critical care theme, this app offers even more in-depth knowledge you need when working in a critical unit. Based on the books by Kathy White, this app includes information on managing sepsis, heart failure and 16 classes of critical care drugs.
7. Pocket Lab Values: Sure, you have the lab values that come along with lab reports nowadays, but sometimes you aren’t at your computer to know the specific values of certain labs. This app helps with that by keeping you up to date on numbers, such as ABGs, lumbar puncture and immunology values.
8. Pocket Body: Musculoskeletal by Pocket Anatomy: For nursing students, memorizing the names of bones and muscles is often one of the most challenging parts of school. With this app, you will have the names and structures available to study—either on the job or when trying to prepare for that all-important test.
9. Sleep Sounds: Need to relax? On your lunch break, you can play the soothing sounds of a thunderstorm, the wind or a cat purring to calm your mind and escape from the rigors of the floor. Just don’t get too relaxed—you need to finish your shift!
10. IDdx: Infectious Disease Queries: This handy reference of more than 250 diseases allows you to type in the symptom of an infectious disease and see a display of all the diseases that contain that symptom. You’re sure to find the reason for your patient’s problem.
11. Harriet Lane Handbook: If you work in peds, this app is just the one you need. It focuses on the conditions of childhood, how to dose medications for children and immunization schedules. When working with kids, you have to know a different set of rules, and this is the handbook for that.
12. MRSA eGuideline: MRSA is a big problem in hospitals today, and you need to know the information that’s going to help keep your patients safe from this condition. This app talks about vancomycin dosing, drug information and how to deal with MRSA in infants.
13. Symptomia: This is another app that allows you to input a symptom, and it will return for you all possible diseases that have that symptom. It includes information on abdominal distention, vertigo and coughing, among other common symptoms.
14. The Color Atlas of Family Medicine: This app comes with a hefty price tag of $95, but is worth the investment for the full-color pictures on your phone or iPad that show common skin conditions, rashes and other conditions in a glorious multimedia presentation.
15. Anesthesia Drugs: Fast: If you’re working in the OR or studying to become a nurse anesthetist, this will come in handy for calculating your drug dosages. Simply enter a weight and the proper dose is given to you for a wide range of anesthesia drugs.
16. Med Mnemonics: We all need help remembering the vast amount of information that comes at us in nursing school and on the job. One of the easiest ways to remember is with mnemonics that help to jog your memory. This app lists all the common aides to studying in a simple format.
17. Heart Murmur Pro: The Heart Sound Database: Sometimes it’s hard to know what sounds are important when listening to the heart with your stethoscope. This app has a collection of the common and uncommon heart sounds so that you can learn to identify them.
18. palmPEDi: Pediatric Emergency Medicine Tape for the PICU, OR, ED: When working with children in critical care areas, you need to know the equipment sizes, drug doses and other peds-specific knowledge to act fast. This app puts all of that information on your phone and at your command.
19. Medscape: This app gives you the latest in medical news right at your fingertips. You can also look up unknown drugs, conditions and procedures directly from the app. The icing on the cake? It’s totally free!
20. Davis’s Drug Guide 2012: This is the go-to guide for nurses when they want to look up the actions of a medication. This app is a little more pricey than some other apps, but the fact that it is made by Davis and has such a great reputation as a guide for nurses makes it worth the price.

Topics: nursing, apps, nurse, nurses, mobile, app

Social Media in the Workplace and Interviews

Posted by Wilson Nunnari

Fri, May 11, 2012 @ 10:46 AM

The news that some employers have asked for direct access to the Facebook accounts -- including user names and passwords -- of people applying for jobs at their firms has set off a firestorm of controversy.

The reports have raised questions about whether the practice is illegal and if such a policy could expose those employers to potential discrimination lawsuits. The dust-up has even triggered calls by some in Congress for a federal investigation into the practice.

But those recent events only highlight a new reality: The identity that individuals create in the world of social media is quickly becoming an important factor in hiring decisions and in people's broader professional lives.

"The questions around employer access to social network log-ins reflect a broader debate in society about a host of digital privacy issues," says Andrea Matwyshyn, a Wharton professor of legal studies and business ethics. "This is a new concern -- the degree to which employers can gain access to all role identities through one virtual space. There is no parallel to that in the real world."

While the reaction to the practice has been swift and intense, it's hard to predict if it will become a lasting trend.

But, Matwyshyn says, she began hearing about employers requesting access to the Facebook accounts of potential hires as far back as 2008. To date, however, she says, there is no good data on how widespread the practice has become.

The fact that it exists at all is not entirely unexpected: According to Matwyshyn, a number of studies show that most employers look at candidates' online profiles when making hiring decisions, noting a 2011 survey by social-media monitoring service Reppler that found that 91 percent of recruiters report using social-networking sites to evaluate job applicants.

But checking out a publicly available profile on Facebook -- or even asking a job candidate to "friend" someone in human resources at a company where they are applying for a position -- is worlds apart from gaining unfettered access to someone's account through a password.

"If you can take Facebook passwords, what about Gmail passwords?" asks Stuart Soffer, a non-residential fellow at The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School and managing director of IPriori, an intellectual-property consulting firm.

If left unchecked, Soffer says, the practice could expand beyond human resource departments evaluating potential employees.

"What about allowing Facebook access to insurers so they can see what you are saying about your health?" he says. "They could use it as a basis for judging the risk of insuring you."

The request for access to log-in information also raises some serious legal questions.

Clearly concerned about the legal and business implications of privacy breaches, Facebook has come out against the practice, stating that sharing or soliciting a Facebook password is a violation of the company's statement of rights and responsibilities.

twitter logo

"We don't think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don't think it's the right thing to do," Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan says. "But it also may cause problems for the employers that they are not anticipating."

Matwyshyn says employers could be essentially asking job candidates to violate their contract with Facebook if they ask for passwords, creating "an untenable conflict between contract law and employers' perceptions of their own interest in vetting candidates."

In addition, if a Facebook account includes information on an applicant's race or age, for example, that could potentially expose the employer to claims of discriminatory hiring practices. According to Matwyshyn, it is legally hazy whether accessing someone's Facebook account where that information is available is akin to asking it in the interview.

"Arguments can be made that this is a back-door method to gaining information that the prospective employer wouldn't otherwise have access to," she says.

Meanwhile, the issue is getting the attention of Congress. Senate Democrats Charles Schumer and Richard Blumenthal, from New York and Connecticut respectively, have asked the Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to look into the practice.

But even if it is eventually prohibited or otherwise curbed through legal or legislative channels, Wharton management professor Nancy Rothbard predicts that the use of social media in hiring decisions will continue to be a flashpoint in the years ahead.

"The core of the problem is the blending of personal and professional lives," Rothbard says. "We are still in the infancy of trying to understand how to deal with all this."

Opening the Window -- and Closing a Door?

Just how far employers can legally go to check out job candidates online may not be clear -- but why they are looking for new methods of evaluating applicants is easy to understand, says Wharton management professor Adam Grant.

Research, he says, has shown that the typical job interview is a poor tool for predicting which candidates will succeed. If that does not work, companies need to find something that does.

"Applicants are very motivated to put their best foot forward in an interview," Grant says. "It is very difficult to spot the people who will represent an organization well. But on Facebook, you can see the applicant making day-to-day decisions -- it is a window into how an individual is likely to act."

In fact, recent research has provided evidence that online profiles can be very revealing about specific personality traits.


A paper published recently in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology entitled, "Social Networking Websites, Personality Ratings, and the Organizational Context: More Than Meets the Eye," studied 518 undergraduate students and their Facebook profiles.

The researchers found that the Facebook profiles were a good predictor of the so-called "big five personality traits:" conscientiousness, agreeableness, extroversion, emotional stability and openness. And for a subset of the group where the researchers were able to contact supervisors at companies that had hired those students, there was a correlation between scores on two personality traits -- emotional stability and agreeableness -- and job performance. (SeeHREOnlineTM story here.)

"There is strong evidence that social networking is a valid way of assessing someone's personality," says Donald Kluemper, a professor of management at the Northern Illinois University College of Business and a co-author of the study.

But he says that does not mean there is evidence that an unstructured perusal of a Facebook account will result in better hiring decisions.

"Until a method is validated in a number of ways, including a study of adverse impacts and the legal issues, I wouldn't recommend companies rely on social-networking profiles," Kluemper says.

Now, the use of social-media information is far from fine-tuned, with recruiters typically checking out social media to get a general sense of the person applying for a job or to hunt for any red flags. But it is possible the use of that information could become more sophisticated.

"People are mining that data right now for other purposes, including targeting ads to the right people," says Shawndra Hill, a Wharton operations and information management professor. "It is not out of the realm of possibility to focus that on other outcomes, like how good a match someone is for a job or whether there is a high likelihood they might do something illegal."

While the value of that data may be apparent, it remains to be seen how social media should ultimately fit into some aspects of professional life.

Take the less-controversial practice of managers' friending their colleagues through Facebook. Rothbard says this practice creates numerous potential headaches. Two years ago, she and some colleagues did a series of interviews with 20 people at a variety of levels and in a number of different industries, and found that people were often unnerved friending either bosses or subordinates.

"People felt very uncomfortable with crossing the private and professional boundary when it came to the hierarchy [within an organization]," Rothbard says. "They talked about friending their bosses with similar discomfort and language as they did when they spoke about friending their moms."

Interestingly, Rothbard adds, the rules for social networking in the workplace may differ based on gender.

She led a study of 400 students in which participants were shown Facebook profiles, told that the person was either a boss, a peer or a subordinate, and then asked to rate the individuals based on how likely they were to accept that person's friend request.

The findings: Female bosses with bare-bones profiles were less likely to be accepted than those who revealed more personal information, while the opposite pattern held for male bosses.

"Women who have limited profiles are more likely to be shunned than the women who have a more active presence," Rothbard says. "People see them as cold. But male bosses who reveal less information are more likely to be accepted than those who reveal a lot of information."

The increased scrutiny of people's virtual lives may change the way individuals operate in the social-networking realm.

According to Rothbard, there are essentially four ways of dealing with privacy issues. There are those who control their list of friends carefully, rejecting friend requests from people with whom they don't want to share personal information. Then, there are those who accept virtually all requests, but are very careful about what they post, limiting that content to very safe, less revealing information.

There is also a hybrid approach in which people use privacy settings to share some information with close friends and less-sensitive material with others. And, finally, there is the "let it all hang out" crowd -- those who are comfortable sharing all their information with a large group of close (and not so close) friends.

Grant predicts more people will opt for the more-controlled, filtered approach as they realize their social-media profiles are being scrutinized by potential employers.

"As employers gain this information, so do candidates," Grant points out. "So candidates may use Facebook more carefully and remove the cues that are so valuable [to employers]."

Soffer agrees people will become much more careful about their social-media personas.

"There are ways around this," Soffer says of the unwanted exposure of social-media behavior. "One thing that could happen is people will start having two Facebook accounts." One will be for close friends; the other, a more sanitized version for employers.

But there is always the potential that something posted for viewing by a small group of close friends on Facebook could get out into larger circulation. And for that reason, some argue, the risks of being active in the social-media space outweigh the benefits.

"If you are a CEO, or aspire to be a CEO or director of a public company, I think it makes sense to refrain from social networking," says Dennis Carey, vice chairman at Korn/Ferry International. "There are other ways to communicate with employees and the outside world through properly controlled channels. Some of the messages that are conveyed can be misconstrued or taken out of context by a third party."

The fear of a photo or comment made long ago coming back to haunt you is hardly unfounded. Because sites such as Facebook have been around less than a decade, it is not certain how long someone's social-networking history will remain accessible.

"It is unclear how long the information persists," Hill says. "Firms have different privacy policies, and often privacy policies change over time. While there are policies that allow for deleting data you no longer want on the site, it is hard to guarantee that this information won't live on a database somewhere."

The controversy worries some fans of the social-media revolution.

"I worry that there is already a sense right now that our participation online may come back to haunt us," says Chris Ridder, co-founder of the law firm Ridder, Costa & Johnstone and a non-residential fellow at The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School.

"It inhibits our ability to express ourselves," he says. "If we can only express public relations-like statements, it takes away a good bit of the utility of the Internet. I think it would be a shame if we were to lose the playful aspect of this new technology."


How would you feel if someone asked for your account information to Facebook or Twitter in an interview? What if your boss did it? Do you think this is a privacy violation? Should there be legislation on this? Let us know in the comments; we want to hear from you!


Topics: hiring, Workforce, employment, education, nursing, technology, Articles, Employment & Residency, health, healthcare, nurse, nurses, cultural, social media, communication, mobile, iphone, internet use

Survey: 71 percent of US nurses use smartphones

Posted by Pat Magrath

Tue, May 01, 2012 @ 10:02 AM

According to a recent survey conducted by Wolters Kluwer Health’s Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW), 71 percent of nurses are already using smartphones for their job. The survey included responses from 3,900 nurses and nursing students. About 66 percent of those nursing students surveyed said they use their smartphones for nursing school.iphone

Overall, 85 percent of the nurses and nursing students said they want a smartphone app version of LWW’s Nursing 2013 Drug Handbook. Some 87 percent of those surveyed said they would want a smartphone app version of the text as well as a print version.

This month LWW plans to launch its first mobile app version of the handbook. The new forthcoming app includes nearly 900 drug monographs addressing more than 3,000 generic and brand name drugs. The app also offers a dosage calculator, pill images, detailed monographs and weekly drug updates. The app will work on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices once it launches later this month.

Earlier this year the New York Times reported on the effects of the increased adoption of smartphones among students at nursing schools: “The most profound recent change is a move away from the profession’s dependence on committing vast amounts of information to memory. It is not that nurses need to know less, educators say, but that the amount of essential data has exploded,” the Times wrote.

In January Massachusetts General Hospital also announced plans to equip its nurses with iPhones thanks to a recent deal with Voalte. Voalte’s offering combines high-definition voice calls, critical care alarms and presence-based text features and is intended for use by staff in acute care hospitals in the US and Canada — especially nurses. The company has helped a number of healthcare facilities equip their nurses with smartphones, including, Cedars-Sinai, Nebraska Medical Center, Texas Children’s, Heartland Health, Huntington Hospital, and Sarasota Memorial.

Topics: diversity, nursing, apps, nurse, nurses, mobile, iphone

Beth Israel nurse creates free app ‘Nurse Net’

Posted by Wilson Nunnari

Mon, Feb 06, 2012 @ 09:25 PM

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:

Topics: nursing, nurse, nurses, mobile

A Nurse Need Never Forget

Posted by Wilson Nunnari

Mon, Feb 06, 2012 @ 09:00 PM

New York Times (reprint)

THESE days, when a nursing student at the University of Iowa fields a question about a drug, “the answer is often, ‘I don’t know, but give me a few seconds,’ and she pulls out her phone,” according to Joann Eland, an associate professor there.

In just a few years, technology has revolutionized what it means to go to nursing school, in ways more basic — and less obvious to the patient — than learning how to use the latest medical equipment. Nursing schools use increasingly sophisticated mannequins to provide realistic but risk-free experience; in the online world Second Life, students’ avatars visit digital clinics to assess digital patients. But the most profound recent change is a move away from the profession’s dependence on committing vast amounts of information to memory. It is not that nurses need to know less, educators say, but that the amount of essential data has exploded.

“There are too many drugs now, too many interactions, too many tests, to memorize everything you would need to memorize,” says Ms. Eland, a specialist in uses of technology. “We can’t rely nearly as much as we used to on the staff knowing the right dose or the right timing.”

Five years ago, most American hospital wards still did not have electronic patient records, or Internet connections. Now, many provide that access with computers not just at a central nurse’s station but also at the patient’s bedside. The latest transition is to smartphones and tablet computers, which have become mandatory at some nursing schools.

“We have a certain set of apps that we want nursing students to have on their handheld devices — a book of lab tests, a database of drugs, even nursing textbooks,” says Helen R. Connors, executive director of the Kansas University Center for Health Informatics. Visiting alumni, she says, are shocked to see students not carrying physical textbooks to class.

But technology carries risks as well. So much data is available that students can get overwhelmed, and educators say that a growing part of their work is teaching how to retrieve information quickly and separate what is credible, relevant and up-to-date from what is not. (Hint: look for the seal of approval of Health on the Net.)

They also worry that students rely too much on digital tools at the expense of patient interaction and learning.“There’s a danger that having that technology at the point of care at the bedside creates a misperception that students don’t need to know their stuff,” says Jennifer Elison, chairwoman of the nursing department at Carroll College in Helena, Mont.

“I get worried when I hear about nursing programs that want to replace the person-to-person clinical experience with increased hours with simulation,” she says. “We hear sometimes that it feels to patients that the computers are more important than they are.”

Then there’s the patient privacy issue in the era of blogging, Facebook and Twitter. How to properly use social media has become standard in the curriculum, thanks in part to what is known in nursing circles as “the placenta incident.” Four nursing students at a community college in Kansas posted Facebook photos of themselves with a human placenta. The students were expelled in 2010, and later reinstated, but the episode showed how murky the boundaries of privacy and professionalism can be. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing recently published guidelines on social media.

“That is the new hot issue now,” Ms. Elison says. “That’s been hard, because this is a generation that immediately hits that send button.”

Topics: diversity, Workforce, nursing, Employment & Residency, nurse, nurses, mobile, iphone

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