5 Incredibly Useful Apps for Clinical Rotations

When I was an NP student, one of my instructors emphasized the importance of being equipped with the right tools to become successful. One of the tools that especially have come in handy during NP school was the use of mobile phone applications. Smartphone applications are particularly useful while studying in school or preparing for clinical rotations. I’ve used my fair share of mobile apps while in school, and plenty of practitioners use them on a daily basis in their practice. If you’re able to utilize your smartphone during your clinical rotations, I highly recommend the following apps as part of your medical toolkit:


1. Epocrates:


Epocrates is a must-have app for any healthcare professional interested in having quick access to pharmacological references, including information on drug-drug interactions, safety information, drug indications, etc. It also gives you access to timely medical news and research, and offers calculation tools. Unfortunately, such a great tool does come with a price. A one-year subscription is available for $174.99. However, Epocrates does offer subscription discounts for NP students! Click the following link to learn more about how to gain access to the Epocrates student discount: https://www.epocrates.com/e/edu


2. Medscape:


This app is great because it not only offers pharmacology tools, it offers helpful reviews of diseases – including summaries of pathophysiology, disease etiology, prognosis, and complications. Medscape Education is a feature that also allows you to earn continuing education (CE) credits! Talk about handy! This all-in-one app also features great reviews of numerous procedures to refresh your memory. Also, Medscape is a free app! Thus it was my favorite resource to use as a student. Definitely don’t miss out on this tool during your study!


3. UpToDate:


When you’re in need of reviewing the most updated practice guidelines, UpToDate is the ultimate resource. In fact, it’s one of my favorites! When reviewing conditions, this app will give you information on etiology, evaluation, diagnostic approach, patient education, and recommendations. It’s a medical library in the palm of your hand! However, while the app itself is free to download on your smartphone, it costs money to subscribe and utilize the resource to its full potential. But, fear not! A lot of schools and medical institutions offer their students/employees free access to UpToDate. Verify with your program or employer to see if they currently offer UpToDate. If they do not, there is also the option of signing up for a student discount. Visit their site for more information on the student discount: https://www.uptodate.com/home/uptodate-subscription-options-trainees


4. VisualDx:


While going through my dermatology rotations as an NP student, VisualDx was a necessity.  It’s easily one of the best dermatology apps on the market. VisualDx is a clinical reference tool that focuses on skin diseases, and it allows the user to make differential diagnoses based on clinical exam. If you find yourself particularly interested in dermatology, or even if you encounter a lot of skin diseases in your primary care rotations, this app is for you! This app also comes with a cost. Individual subscriptions are $39.99/month, which is quite steep. Fortunately, several schools allow students to have access to the app. If you are able to use it from your school’s medical resources, take full advantage of it!




The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), created a (free!) app to allow primary care practitioners to view recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). These recommendations help healthcare professionals determine if preventive services, such as screening, lab tests, or specific physical assessments, are appropriate for their patients. This app was particularly helpful for many of my rotations since primary care was my clinical concentration in graduate school. If you’re studying to become a primary care professional, I highly recommend this app!


Nowadays, there are hundreds of medical apps available on our mobile devices. The five listed above are some of my favorites that got me through graduate school, and they continue to be helpful to me as a certified nurse practitioner! Which medical apps are your personal favorite? Share your thoughts in the comments below!