The 27 Best (and Free!) Nursing Apps

Female nurse with stethoscope around neck using her smartphone to look up medical information.

Apps have come leaps and bounds since the early days of smartphones. You can access literally mountains of information at your fingertips, quickly and efficiently to help you on the job, on your commute, and on your days off from the hospital. Not sure where to start? Let this list of the best nursing apps — for iOS devices and Android systems — be your guide.

There are tons of free tools specifically for mobile devices designed with busy nurses in mind. Search any app store today, and you’ll find ones that help you plan your work schedule, study for nursing exams, get drug updates, make decisions at the point of care, practice patient education, and do everything in between. Away from work, apps help you relax, sleep better, review your finances, manage a busy schedule, and catch up on the most current industry happenings. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s an app for that!

To help you find the very best nursing apps for your needs, we did the research and pulled together a long list of apps that nurses just like you use regularly. We then narrowed that list to the ones that nurses raved about the most and grouped them into six categories. Below, you’ll find the best nursing apps for:

  • Medical References
  • Medical Translations
  • Calculating Dosages
  • Scheduling
  • Reviewing Nursing School Material
  • Managing Life Outside of Work

Read on to see our recommendations for the best nursing apps of 2023.

2023-Badge FreeAppNurse

Best Medical Reference Apps for Nurses

1. Skills Hub: Nursing Skills App

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: This app helps you to master your nursing skills and includes step-by-step instructional videos, evidence-based references, and more. It even works as an NCLEX prep app, offering excellent NCLEX prep questions and allowing you to build a portfolio of mastered skills.

2. Nursing Dictionary by Farlex

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: This medical dictionary app is specifically designed for nurses. You have access to more than 56,000 medical terms, 4,000 medications, and 9,000 images. Plus, the sources come from Mosby’s, Elsevier, and other names you can trust. Nurses love the medical search function, but the medical abbreviation and acronym search are the true lifesavers, especially for those new to the field.

3. Smart Medical Reference

Available for Download On: Apple App Store
Why You’ll Love It: Interpreting your patient’s lab results is challenging. This app makes fast information gathering easier by allowing you to search this incredible database by lab test name, disease, drug, or differential diagnosis. This way, you get clear and accurate information on about 500 of the most commonly performed lab tests and lab reference values. Plus, the app is incredibly straightforward to use.

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4. Skyscape Medical Library

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: The benefits of this app include access to first aid Q&A, Mont Reid Surgical Handbook, and Davis’s Drug Guide for Nurses, among many others. There is even a Fitzpatrick’s Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology with full-color imaging. Additionally, you can navigate the world of nursing through flowcharts, audio guides, and intelligent search technology.

5. Epocrates

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: This app offers exceptional drug information, including a drug-to-drug interactions checker and a pill identifier. One of the best and most efficient features is its customizable home screen with a simple drag-and-drop system. The app is free, but you can pay monthly for additional helpful features like ICD-10 code identifier, peer-reviewed disease content, and alternative medicine monographs.

6. John Hopkins Antibiotic Guide

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: Here, you can find some great features, including a consult section where you can input your patient’s clinical information and get evidence-based diagnoses and treatment recommendations with easy-to-read resources and color imaging. You can even personalize the guide by adding notes, keeping you organized and efficient. The app goes beyond only antibiotics and extends to psychiatry, HIV, diabetes, and other medical topics, with a citation section so you can be sure everything is evidence based.

7. The Chief Complaint

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: Think of this resource as your emergency medicine handbook. When you download the Chief Complaint, the home screen is where you can find disease process and medication information, calculators, and more. The design is user-friendly in its easy navigation and clear touchpoints. In addition, you can create bookmarks throughout the app to save the most critical information while adding notes to yourself.

8. Nurses Pocket Guide App

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: A must-have for any nursing student or veteran RN, this comprehensive nursing app helps you identify your patient’s condition and then diagnose and jumpstart the treatment plan.This app contains information and care plans for NANDA-approved diagnoses, along with definitions, NIC/NOC classifications, related factors, documentation guidelines, and prioritized actions to take. It’s also available without a wi-fi connection. Registered nurses can truly use this app wherever they are, even if they have poor cell service. It’s basically your nursing diagnosis guide, snug in your pocket.

9. Nurses’ Drug Handbook

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: This is the drug reference library every nurse needs on hand. It offers pill identification and short descriptions of every possible drug you could come across. Plus, it’s updated regularly. It’s a lifesaver if you’re in the hospital giving meds to be quickly able to look up drugs, side effects, interactions, and more. There are also patient safety sections, so you can provide thorough information to your patients. Helpful resources include treatment plans, pill identification, interaction checks, symptom management, and drug classification. It’s a virtual pharmacist in your pocket!

10. Merck Manual Professional

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: This app is another one of the great medical directory digital resources. Need to access quick reference guides on patient conditions and treatments? Check this out. Looking for the latest medical news and expert commentary? This app’s got that too. Need comprehensive reference information? It’s all here. The app offers thousands of topics written by physicians and updated regularly; detailed illustrations and photos of diseases and disorders; videos on outpatient procedures; industry news updates; quizzes to check your knowledge; updated clinical entries and current strategies for treatment; and a drug resource center. Oh, and it’s free with no ads.

Best Medical Translator App for Nurses

11. Care to Translate

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: Ever been faced with non-English-speaking patients and not have a translator available? That’s when the Care to Translate app is the rapid reference you can rely on. Available both for healthcare staff and patients, this medical translator app is available in over 40 languages. All medical terms and phrases have been verified by both healthcare professionals and native speakers, so you never have to worry about getting your patient the information they need.

Best Calculator Apps for Nurses

12. MDCalc Medical Calculator

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: With more than 48,000 App Store ratings and a near-perfect score of 4.9, this app has helped millions of medical professionals in their clinical practices. It offers several calculators that work even offline and in limited connection places. A customizable feature allows you to quickly access your favorites, recent visits, or calculators designed for your specialty. Additionally, it provides access to more than 550 easy-to-use clinical decision tools like risk evaluations, algorithms, and dosing calculators.

13. Calculate by QxMD

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: Calculate by QxMD does more than help with calculations. It enables you to use point-of-care tools based on your areas of expertise, whether cardiology, respiratory, vascular surgery, or others. The app uses a question flow technology uniquely designed to get fast and accurate answers. More than anything, Calculate works to help you make decisions about your patient’s care instead of just calculating the numbers.

Best Scheduling App for Nurses

14. NurseGrid Scheduling

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: In nursing, you have to prioritize your work-life balance. The NurseGrid scheduling app helps you do just that. You can carry your work schedule with you everywhere and compare it with your co-workers’. If you need to swap a shift at the last minute, the app’s collaboration features will let you know who’s working when. You might even let others know your availability to sign up for additional shifts. Finally, the app has a great group and private message chat to discuss your schedules.

Best Study/Review Apps for Nursing Students

15. Saunders Comp Review NCLEX-RN

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: Everyone needs to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), but which handy app offers the best intensive study materials at your fingertips? Well, this app has fantastic features such as thousands of NCLEX exam-style questions, prep quizzes, test-taking strategies, filter-question mode, audio questions, and a ton more resources to help get you ready to take your NCLEX. Furthermore, the app offers an option to create your own study goals with helpful reminders, which will help you stay on track. You’ll also love how it helps identify what areas you’ve mastered and what areas need a bit more attention.

16. NCLEX RN Nursing by My Mastery

Available for Download On: Apple App Store
Why You’ll Love It: This highly rated app downloaded by millions of students offers excellent benefits when prepping for NCLEX or refreshing your knowledge. You gain access to NCLEX simulations to help reduce study time while gaining confidence in your craft. The pretest identifies where to start studying, and the post-test lets you know how far you have advanced. To supplement your learning, the app adds new audio and video lessons every week. Even better: NCLEX Mastery touts its 99% pass rate and offers a 300% money-back guarantee to anyone who doesn’t pass on the first try.

17. Picmonic: Nursing School

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: In nursing school, you memorize many facts, medications, lab values, and other details. The learning and memorization processes can be very overwhelming. However, this app allows you to use word association and picture images to help remember essential information. It’s visual memory tricks on-the-go. Think of it as using CliffNotes with fun images that train your brain by using word association to remember key facts. For example, for “penicillin,” you see a picture of a “pencil-villain” on the flashcard to help associate the image with the medication.

18. Full Code Medical Simulation

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: This app challenges you in a simulator environment to take on a clinically complex patient in a realistic medical setting. It currently offers over 160 scenarios across 31 specialities, adds at least one new case every month, and allows you to customize cases or even write your own. A special bonus is that you can earn CME credit hours by using the app. In the simulator, you take your patient’s history and physical exam, order tests, and perform interventions. You may also choose medications and monitor the patient’s condition as they respond to your interventions.

19. ECG EKG Interpretation Mastery

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: Interpreting EKGs is challenging, even for well-seasoned nurses. This app is your complete resource guide to evaluating heart rhythms and includes convenient tutorials and tables to help improve your expertise. You get step-by-step instructions on analyzing different types of rhythms, including Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, which can be tough to spot.

20. DSM-5 Differential Diagnosis

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: You don’t have to be in psychiatric nursing to know that patients often present with mental health conditions in addition to their physical health concerns. The DSM-5 app is a tool to help spot and diagnose psychiatric disorders accurately using step-by-step decision trees to review possible conditions. Think of it as assisting with some extra critical thinking skills.

Best Apps to Manage Life Outside of Work

21. Calm

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: The Calm app serves many purposes. One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a nurse is not listening to your body. If you struggle to settle your mind at bedtime from the stress of the day, this app offers sleep stories and music designed to help you fall asleep. It contains guided meditations, soundscapes, and guided deep breathing. It provides daily wisdom and affirmations, gives excellent stress relievers, and will start you on the practice of mental health wellness.

22. Mealime – Meal Plans & Recipes

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: The Mealime app is an excellent way for you to plan your meals for the week. After a long shift, you’ll want to grab an already prepped meal that you can quickly warm in the oven or microwave and enjoy. This app offers healthy meals cooked in 30 minutes or less, a lifesaver. You can easily tailor the weekly meal plans to your palate, budget, and nutritional needs. As a bonus, it aims to keep food waste to a minimum, maximizing your grocery-buying power.

23. Mint

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: As one of the most popular financial planning apps available, Mint doesn’t disappoint. The app’s design is to help you manage your money, stick to a budget, pay your bills, and track your spending. You can check your financial status to see whether you can afford additional financial lifelines such as nursing malpractice insurance. You can also monitor your credit accounts and credit cards while keeping an eye on your credit score. By setting financial goals, you can maintain a healthy savings account and be in a much better place financially.

24. Pinterest

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: While Instagram, SnapChat, and TikTok are great social media apps to fuel procrastination, Pinterest can be very productive. Allowing you to save websites, images, and links to ideas into easily accessible folders. Some ideas include recipes, scrubs, travel guides, nursing procedures, and date night ideas. You can become more organized in what you search for on the internet. And be sure to follow Berxi’s pinterest page!

25. Waze Navigation & Live Traffic

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: Running late for your shift or dinner with friends? The Waze app is a great way to ensure you take the quickest and safest route to reach your destination on time. In addition, you will receive notifications on construction, accidents, and traffic movement in real time. The app can be a great timesaver while helping to ease your anxiety.

26. Audible

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: Do you love reading but can’t seem to find the time anymore? Audible offers a great selection of audiobooks and exclusive podcasts that you can listen to during your daily commute. You can even listen offline. Now you won’t miss out on a great book, and listening works as a great way to unwind after a long shift.

27. PTSD Coach

Available for Download On: Apple App Store | Google Play
Why You’ll Love It: Many nurses suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their careers. When you experience trauma firsthand, it can severely impact your mental health. The free PTSD Coach app is offered by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and features helpful information on PTSD, treatments, tools for tracking your symptoms, and direct links to support and help. If you have symptoms of PTSD, it is best to first see your doctor. This app can then be used in conjunction with any other therapy you receive.

Final Thoughts

Using mobile apps as a nurse is a great way to work efficiently while enhancing your clinical knowledge and other skills. It may be a good idea to check with your employer to see what apps it recommends for use while working your shift. By being tech-savvy in the industry today, you increase the use of innovations and improve patient care for the future.


Image courtesy of


Last updated on Nov 21, 2022.
Originally published on Mar 31, 2022.


Last updated on Jul 24, 2024.
Originally published on Mar 09, 2023.


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Alexandra Prabhu, RN, BSN is a pediatric ICU and cardiac cath lab nurse with nearly two decades of experience in healthcare.