I'd like there to be an app for that
January 19, 2011 3:31 PM   Subscribe

Are you now, or were you recently in nursing school? Did you use the Davis's Drug Guide app? How useful was it?

My sister is currently in nursing school and about to begin clinicals. Her school has recommended she use Davis's Drug Guide. Not wanting to lug around a book, she has considered buying both an iPod Touch (note: not an iPhone) and the associated app for it.

She's not the best with gadgets, so I want to make sure she'll be happy before she makes any purchases.

If you used this app, how functional did you find it during your clinicals? Easy to use and read? Relatively useless and superfluous?

Also, because she does not have a 3G plan and has no plans to get one, does the app require constant connectivity? I'm not sure if she will have regular access to a wireless connection during her day.

I'd appreciate your experiences.
posted by kjars to Education (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I got an iPod for medical school - not quite the same, I know, but I think you have to think beyond a single app. You have to think about things like - is she actually going to be carrying this around on the wards? If not, she might be better with something bigger like an iPad or netbook, because the iPod's small screen makes some things difficult - but, of course, good to fit in your pocket.

I haven't used my iPod as much as I thought I would - it's relatively fiddly to get to things, and honestly, if someone has kindly left a relevant book in the office on the ward it is often much easier to look things up in that than on the iPod.

Most apps like that don't need constant connectivity, but I can't talk for the specifics. Also, epocrates basic version is free and recommended in a lot of places - she could test it out and possibly save $50 versus the recommended app.
posted by Coobeastie at 3:57 PM on January 19, 2011

I just finished nursing school. Everywhere I went for clinicals had at least one drug book lying around - often several - and usually at least one of my classmates had brought their book as well. In addition, most places have a drug reference on their computer system. I got by at clinicals without hauling around any book or device of my own, which was great - there's never enough room for your stuff, and there's always the danger of things going missing. I did need a drug book at home for writing papers and care plans, though a reputable online reference would have served just as well for those.
posted by shiny blue object at 4:18 PM on January 19, 2011

Currently in school, but I don't use an iDevice. (I'm considering getting an Android device in the summer to run apps, but that's for my specialty MSN years that I'm concerned.) Usually I have to look my meds up the night before, or otherwise use Micromedex on the workstations on the unit.

School recommends epocrates, and also lists "mobileMicromedex 2.0 and Micromedex Drug Information" which it says is free from the Apple Apps store.
posted by cobaltnine at 5:12 PM on January 19, 2011

Currently in school, and use an iPod in addition to a drug book. I'd recommend epocrates.
posted by pecanpies at 5:18 PM on January 19, 2011

Davis's is required at my school as well. I went through one semester with the book only and found it tons easier after I got the app. We have to look up information for every medication before giving it, and if you have a patient on lots of meds, it takes a long time paging through and tabbing the book. The app gives you instant access to the information and I'm usually done looking up my meds before anyone else is.

You don't mention if her school allows PDAs, though. If she isn't sure, she should ask before she invests. My school is ok with it as long as it's not used for other things and out of my pocket when it shouldn't be.
posted by fresh-rn at 8:05 PM on January 19, 2011

Just finished nursing school, and my experience was similar to Shiny Blue Object's. Every unit I was on had several drug reference books, and the electronic chart had links from each medication to a Micromedex page with the information too. Our school also had a Micromedex subscription available online for students (via our student login) through the biomedical library, so I could access it from home or the hospital or wherever I was. Finally, the majority of our time looking up drugs was done the night before a clinical, not on-the-fly as we gave drugs, so typically I already knew the relevant information before the actual clinical day. Having a book or a phone along that night before wouldn't have been as difficult as lugging it around on clinical day, but most of us got by fine with the resources available on the unit.

Personally I would not have been comfortable carrying around such an expensive device with me on the unit. There's always the possibility of loss or damage. Also, making a good impression on these units was a major path for us to network and eventually get jobs, and honestly there are a lot of older nurses and/or managers who would see a student staring at a phone on their clinical shift and think they were on facebook or something. I guess that's not an overwhelming reason to avoid using a helpful app, but there are tradeoffs involved.

All that said, our instructors who are nurse practitioners highly recommended epocrates and seemed to use it a lot.
posted by vytae at 8:09 AM on January 20, 2011

Don't know about while in school, but I use Unbound's version of the Davis Drug Guide nearly every day on the unit. There are many other references available online and on paper, and I use those too, but it's often very convenient to have it in my pocket @ the bedside.
posted by brevator at 11:39 AM on January 20, 2011

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