By Aaron Moore, MSN, RN-BC, travel nurse expert
In this technological age we want apps for everything, and our smartphones are filled with single-tap solutions to everyday problems and interests. While app stores have many things that could potentially be helpful to travel nurses, I’ve developed my own list of favorites, based on my travel experiences.
Below, and in no particular order, are my favorite apps for travel nurses:
I have been a huge fan of this website for years. For a site that mainly started out as a way to get real-time reviews and recommendations on restaurants by real patrons, it has rapidly evolved into a list of nearly all businesses and venues. Personally, I still use this app mainly for restaurants. As a travel nurse, you move a lot and drive through many new places; this app can help you avoid a bad meal and find a nice place for a relaxing drink after a long drive or 12-hour shift. I have rarely been disappointed by my fellow yelpers and their recommendations.
Travel search website Kayak.com quickly became my favorite site for finding the best deals on flights when it came out in January 2004. In its early days, Kayak only handled searched for flights and didn’t allow booking. Now you can prepay for flights, hotel reservations and even car rentals. One of my favorite things about Kayak is that it shows competitors’ pricing compared to theirs, saving you time and money. As this company expands, I look to see them becoming the main player for booking travel.
Expedia has long been known as a travel search website, used by thousands for almost a decade. It allows for reviews, information and booking. The mobile apps have some mobile-exclusive discounts on last-minute hotel bookings, which can be good if you decide to drive that extra 100 miles toward your next assignment. They also put all the usual flight and hotel search functionality at your fingertips. Like any other site, take the reviews with a grain of salt, as some people may just be cranky that they didn’t get what they wanted. Expedia apps also have a unique feature that allows you to sort reviews by certain topics depending on your search.
This complete drug reference app allows you access to tons of information about prescribed medications, herbals and over-the-counter drugs. It includes cool features such as a pill identifier, drug interaction guide, lab references and a cool infectious disease guide. It’s like having a pharmacist, infectious disease doctor and medical reference book in your pocket.
Infuse and MedCalc
Both of these are handy drug infusion calculators. They allow you to put in patients’ weights and dose desired and spit out an instant infusion rate for you to use. The thing I like about Infuse is the fact that you can change quickly based of differing concentrations. Now you may ask, “Aaron, why do I need this silly app when all pumps are smart pumps?” Well, not all hospitals can afford the smart pumps you may be used to. Admittedly this was a few years ago, but I’ll never forget one of my assignments where my first patient was being sedated with propofol; the technology used to mark the infusion rate was a Post-it note attached to the pump that only worked in ml/hr!
ACLS and PALS Advisors
As an instructor for these wonderful classes, I always teach, “Don’t memorize this stuff. It’s in a book on the crash cart!” Well, some hospital may not have that book, and still I wouldn’t encourage you to memorize every page of the algorithms. Use these helpful apps as a review or to guide you through “unstable bradycardia with a pulse.”
I know there may be other maps apps out there, but Google Maps quickly became my “go to.” Most smartphones come equipped with some sort of GPS/maps app and it is usually the default on your phone. So you may have to download this one, but so far it’s never failed me, and it won’t cost you anything. Since you may be driving in a new city every few months for your travel assignments, you do have more chances of getting lost. Overall, you just need an app you can trust.
So download these apps, or find your own favorites. The most important thing is that you use your resources to make yourself the best travel nurse you can be. Enjoy the mobile life in travel nursing!