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Nurses Recommend the 10 Best Apps for Nursing Students

Gayle Morris, BSN, MSN
Updated March 24, 2023
    With the help of nurses, we've created a list of the best apps to help nursing students through their program and out into the workforce.
    Credit: JGI / Tom Grill / Getty Images

    The best apps for nursing students help juggle the demands of their busy lives and get ahead in their studies even while on the go. The problem that most students have is cutting through the noise to find the right app that can help streamline their workload.

    We talked with three nurses who shared their personal favorite apps for nursing students. These apps can help students learn, retain information, get peer-to-peer support, and more. Dive in to discover the perfect app to help you through your nursing program.

    The Best Apps for Nursing Students

    1 Med Mnemonics

    Beth Hawkes, full-time nurse and owner of NurseCode.com, works with nursing students to help them pass their exams and find the right job for them. She loves the Med Mnemonics app for the iPhone to help students retain information.

    “Not only does this easy and intuitive interface allow customization, but it also lets users create their own list of mnemonic phrases or acronym sets in order to memorize more easily,” she says.

    The app has over 1,900 mnemonics using acronyms, rhymes, and memory tricks to learn topics like anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and surgery. It has a searchable database you can filter by discipline, and you can create a favorites list or add your own.

    Cost: $1.99

    2 Medscape

    Mary Buffington, a burnout coach, nurse educator, and nurse entrepreneur, recommends this app for nursing students to stay on top of the latest medical news and expert commentary. The database contains information on all specialties, drugs, and diseases. It also has continuing education activities. Physicians author the disease and condition information and the drug profiles are authored by a doctor of pharmacy.

    Cost: Free

    3 Epocrates

    This app has been the gold standard of prescription data for many years. It is now owned by athenahealth and has a close relationship with pharmaceutical companies. The upgrades unlock disease information, treatment, alternative medicines, and laboratory and diagnostic information.

    Jenna Liphart Rhoads, Ph.D., is a nurse educator with a clinical background in surgical-trauma adult critical care. Epocrates is one of her favorite apps for nursing students because it acts as a pocket reference guide that is not exclusive to nursing.

    “Epocrates has a drug reference library, lab reference section, multiple types of medical calculators, and medical diagnoses section. This app is a great ‘all in one’ resource,” she says.

    Cost: Free with two upgrades of $175 or more

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    4 Nursing Central

    Hawkes calls this one of the best apps for nursing students and registered nurses (RNs). The Nurse Central app combines five resources into one easy-to-use interface. Nurses and nursing students can access a database of over 5,000 drugs, a dictionary with over 75,000 entries, interpretations for hundreds of lab and diagnostic tests, and a review of over 250 medical conditions.

    [Nursing Central] allows users to quickly jump between resources from different sources such as Davis’s Laboratory Guide which includes information on diseases/disorders along with tests that are available locally too,” Hawkes says.

    Users can create custom notes, see thousands of full-color images, and access the complete PubMed database from the convenience of their cell phones. The paid version includes updates for one year.

    Cost: Free preview download with in-app upgrades from $39 to $179

    5 HearMe

    Buffington also suggests the HearMe app, which anonymously connects you with a trained empathetic listener who is available any time of the day or night. Nurse burnout is a challenge for nursing students and nurses who must deal with the stress of a difficult program and challenging work environment.

    The emotional wellness app provides peer-to-peer support where nurses can have real-time, text-based conversations with other nurses about their struggles. The average wait time is less than one minute and the average rating is 4.7 out of 5.0.

    “Sometimes it’s easier to have real, honest conversations in an anonymous space,” says Buffington. “This platform helps you feel validated.”

    Cost: Free download with in-app purchases ranging from $4.99 to $11.99

    6 Headspace

    The app is designed for people to “be kind to their mind.” Liphart Rhoads finds it is an excellent tool for meditation, stress reduction, and relaxation. The app claims its users find more joy in the day and sleep better at night. There are sample sessions on the site so you can try them before you download or buy the program.

    “Headspace can be used before or after work, or even during a quick break at work or clinical, to find peace and mental clarity,” says Liphart Rhoads.

    There are programs to teach users breathing exercises, improve self-worth, and guide meditation. There are over 70 million downloads and a star rating of 4.9 out of 5.0.

    Cost: First 7-14 days are free; then $69.99 for the year or $12.99 per month

    7 Eponyms App

    An eponym is a word that originates from the proper name of a person, place, or thing. For example, Addison’s disease is named after Thomas Addison. The app gives you the history behind the names of diseases, fractures, surgical procedures, and more.

    The app has not been updated in several years, but the information has not changed. There are 1,800 common and obscure eponyms with full-text search and 26 categories. Hawkes finds it is a good study resource for nursing students.

    “It is a boon for nursing students who are already struggling with a large amount of information. It also gives short descriptions and allows easy search by category or popularity,” she says.

    Cost: Free

    8 ECG Guide

    Liphart Rhoads believes that understanding and identifying abnormalities on an electrocardiogram (ECG) is one of the most complex skills a nursing student or RN learns. The app has over 200 examples of common and uncommon ECG readings.

    There are reference sections that address an ECG rate, rhythm, P wave, QRS complex, and ST segments, among others. Nurses learn how to identify ischemia, arrhythmias, heart block, and more.

    “The app is a great resource for nursing students, new RNs, and experienced nurses who are learning how to read and interpret ECGs,” she says.

    Cost: Apple store $.99 and Google Play $3.49

    9 Drugs.com

    The company supports two mobile apps. The medication guide app gives nurses and nursing students an easy way to look up drug interactions, pill identification, and drug information. The pill identifier app is a searchable database of over 14,000 medication images. The app requires an internet connection to see the images.

    Pills are searchable by color, shape, imprint, and drug name. Liphart Rhoads recommends the app for nursing students and RNs to find helpful information for patient care. One of the options she values is the ability to check drug interactions to ensure that medications can be given together.

    Cost: Medication Guide — Free; Pill Identifier — $0.99

    10 NCLEX-RN Mastery

    The app is connected to the study course. Inside the app, nursing students can use a comprehensive mnemonics list, take practice questions, learn terminology, and track progress with detailed statistics. There are several quizzes with explanations.

    The company is so sure of the results of the program that they guarantee nursing students will pass the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs (NCLEX-RN) or get double their money back.

    Cost: $35.99 per month

    Meet Our Contributors

    Portrait of Mary Buffington, MSN, RN, OCN, ONN-CG, CLC

    Mary Buffington, MSN, RN, OCN, ONN-CG, CLC

    Mary Buffington is a burnout coach, nurse educator, and nurse entrepreneur. Her background includes oncology, travel nursing, patient navigation, and leadership. In 2019, she founded The Burnout Ward to provide tools and coaching for nurses experiencing burnout. She is passionate about creating sustainable solutions to decrease healthcare burnout and improve patient outcomes.

    Portrait of Jenna Liphart Rhoads, Ph.D.

    Jenna Liphart Rhoads, Ph.D.

    Jenna Liphart Rhoads is a nurse educator, freelance author, and editor. Her clinical background includes surgical-trauma adult critical care, interventional radiology procedures, and conscious sedation in adult and pediatric populations. Liphart Rhoads has taught in traditional BSN, RN-BSN, and graduate nursing programs in Illinois, Texas, and Wisconsin.

    Portrait of Beth Hawkes, MSN, RN-BC

    Beth Hawkes, MSN, RN-BC

    As a speaker and writer, Beth Hawkes helps nurses at every step in their careers through her award-winning blog, Nurse Code, freelance writing, and as a career columnist at AllNurses.com. She authored the book “Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job” to give nurses the ultimate insider guide to landing the job of their dreams. She also has extensive experience developing content for organizations such as Lippincott, HealthStream, the American Nurses Credentialing Center, and others. She coauthored the Association of Nursing Professional Development’s Certification Preparation book and is an experienced certification review presenter and expert.