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Top ten tools for first-year nurses


All the websites, apps, books and resources you’ll ever need throughout your student career

Starting university soon? The jump into full time study (or back into full time study) can be a daunting prospect. So Thomas Dines compiles a list of websites, apps, books and other resources to make your transition into a fully-fledged fresher as pain-free as possible.

  1. British National Formulary website: This website has loads of information in medication and medication management. The BNF has all the information you might need on selecting, prescribing and administration of medicines. This website is invaluable as a research tool.
  2. Student Nursing Times: We hate to toot our own horn, but Student Nursing Times is a great place for advice, articles and webchats with prominent figures from the industry. The ‘nursepedia’ section is useful for finding a quick definition on medical terms.
  3. University websites: Often university websites are aimed at their students, but are available to everyone. Don’t just stick to your own university’s website. Shop around a bit and see what you find. Different universities can offer different perspectives. If you have a valid university login you should be able to access the British Nursing Index. The BNI is a free database of articles from English language nursing journals and is accessible through library websites.
  4. Youtube: Videos are great for learning about procedures, and being able to pause and rewind is helpful because you can learn at your own pace. Clinical Skills Online is a good channel to follow. They have almost 70 videos explaining procedures from catheterisation to chest expansion. The British Medical Journal also has a good channel for videos about medical issues, though there is very little about actual procedures.
  5. Ovid Medline: An online resource from the US. It requires you to sign up, but it provides access to over 4,000 ebooks, over 1,000 peer reviewed journals and over 100 bibliographic and full-text databases.
  6. NICE guidelines: The NICE guidelines website provides information of procedures, technology, clinical guidelines and public health guidance. The NICE guidelines are free and easy to use. It’s also useful to keep an eye on the websites of the Department of Health and The King’s Fund for updates on changes in health policy.
  7. Mobile Apps: The British Heart Foundation app, BHF PocketCPR, is designed for practising chest compressions and CPR. You practise compressions in time with the beeps, it also monitors your progress and helps you to learn. The British National Formulary also has an app that it developed with the NICE to provide access to BNI information on the move.
  8. Twitter: Twitter is a massively useful tool for nurses. There are a number of twitchats which are great such as #nurseshift and #wenurses, #Nurchat is great for finding out what’s going on in the nursing community and giving your opinion. There is also the weekly #NTtwitchat every Wednesday at 1pm for discussing topical issues within the nursing profession. Recent #NTtwitchats have discussed raising the NMC membership rates and the appointment of Jeremy Hunt as health secretary. You can follow Student Nursing Times @studentNT
  9. The Student Nurse Handbook: A Survival Guide: A great book for easing you into your first year. Though you might need something more in-depth by the time you’re in your second and third years. It’s also worth having a look at the ‘Made Incredibly Easy’ series of textbooks for overviews of more specific topics such as anatomy or ECG interpretation.
  10. The Student Room: this website is a great discussion forum at Similarly, has a “student nurses” section with articles covering a range of topics such as finances, CV advice, networking and study tips.

Readers' comments (2)

  • I've used all of these recommended resources and found each one very useful. Although I found having my own copy of the BNF helpful (I asked for an out of date one from pharmacy whilst on placement and they were happy to oblige, rather then having to get rid of them themselves). An excellent anatomy and physiology textbook is also incredibly useful...if you don't know LOOK IT UP!

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  • Michael Whitehead

    Really pleased you included Twitter in there. Can't stress enough how much of a useful tool this is for nurses, and excellent for students!
    As a student, running #nurseshift I'm often biased towards student topics, so get in touch if you ever have a topic you would like discussed!

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