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Blog & News/5 Essential Nursing Tools for Travel Nurse Survival

5 Essential Nursing Tools for Travel Nurse Survival

March 10, 2015

When you go on the road as a travel nurse, there are many things that can make life easier, but a few are truly essential nursing tools. Be sure to pack the following items when you head off to your next assignment:

Hardware for Travel Nurses


Use of mobile devices in clinical settings is growing, although most are used by doctors currently, according to American Nurse Today.

They point out that many healthcare workers, including nurses, use personal smartphones at work, although there are potential problems with infection control and security of information.

As a travel nurse you will need your smartphone on assignment for personal reasons like communication, maps and/or GPS, information and entertainment.

Check with your assignment hospital for information about smartphone use at work.


Although a smartphone is more useful for on-the-go professionals like nurses, a laptop allows the same features along with some extras that are great for travel nurses. You can conduct career or work-related online research and call or video conference with family and friends back home.

Try Skype where personal voice and video calls made online are free (also known as Skype-to-Skype calls) or incredibly cheap (from laptop to phones). 

While reading apps and downloaded books are more commonly used on smartphones, video works especially well on your laptop. You can use it for online movie rental during your off hours. Get a cable to connect to your compatible TV for an even better viewing experience in your temporary home.

Software for Travel Nursing  


Medical reference

Epocrates offers medical reference info such as pill and capsule identification, drug interactions and more for free. Upgrade to the paid version for disease and symptom information and lab test details. Or opt to use nurse-centric app Nursing Central which adds nursing journal studies and details or you could choose Merck manuals covering much of the same information. Each is under $200, some much less, and available for iPhone or Android phones. 

Secure communications

A variety of apps are being used for HIPAA compliant encrypted communications between medical staff. You may get more use out of your smartphone at work--if your unit notifies you that they use one of these, such as Medigram. Otherwise, never use your smartphone to share personal patient data (protected health information or PHI). 

Expense tracking

Expensify is a personalized income/expense tracking application for contract workers, like travel nurses. The app allows you to take photos of receipts and import expenses from bank statements online. You can forward copies of receipts and other information to your Expensify online account to compile, create PDF reports--and email reports to employers if necessary. 

Healthy Diet Helpers

Nursing schedules are often not conducive to eating healthy (non-vending machine) meals.

The fast pace of the job combined with stress can negatively affect your eating habits; but you must be healthy to do your job.

Apps like Fooducate can help. This app helps you quickly identify healthier food and get the details on ingredients by scanning bar codes in grocery stores or via text search. Try FoodTripping to help you find the healthiest restaurants in any neighborhood, town or city you happen to be in.

With these nursing tools, things should go much more smoothly while you’re on assignment--leaving you with the time and energy to enjoy the experience to the fullest! What essential tools would you add to the list?

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