BOERUM HILL — Robert Freeman of Beth Israel Medical Center is a nurse with strong computer skills and a good heart.
With money that he received from winning the 2011 Novice Nurse of the Year Award, sponsored by Beth Israel Medical Center and Local 1199/Service Employees International Union, the Boerum Hill resident has developed a new app, Nurse Net, to help nurses and nursing students improve their professional practices. And he is giving it away for free.
Nurse Net provides three interactive tools: News Reader, Abbreviation Assistant and Credentialer. It is available on the iTunes app store — completely free and can be used with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
The News Reader, which aggregates the latest news articles sorted by specialty, is an easy way for RNs to stay current with the latest research and trends. Users have the option to email articles to friends and colleagues and will soon be able to share articles on Facebook and Twitter.
The Abbreviation Assistant facilitates a search of Nurse Net’s database of over 10,000 medical abbreviations. “We abbreviate so many words in health care and not knowing their precise meaning can lead to subpar patient care or even worse!” Freeman said.
The Credentialer provides a comprehensive list of nursing credentials and their associated initials. “I often look at the alphabet soup that follows nurses names on their ID card, and I’m unsure of what many of those initials mean. With the Credentialer, you enter those initials and it will tell you what they stand for,” explained Freeman.
“I wanted the app to be free because if you charge even a dollar for an app, fewer people are going to use it. Besides, student nurses are already saddled with tuition and textbook expenses,” said Freeman, a 2009 graduate of Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing.
He spent most of last summer talking with Beth Israel colleagues and brainstorming on ideas they would like to be developed. He then took two months to work with his friend Dan Delphin, an IT expert, on Nurse Net’s coding and app submission.
“I compiled the databases, worked on filters, icons and layouts. I wanted to give back to the nursing community and especially the next generation of RNs,” he added.
Nurse Net has been downloaded over 12,000 times by nurses from over 100 countries including the U.K, Australia, China and Saudi Arabia — roughly1,000 downloads a week since the app’s release.
Freeman had a circuitous route to nursing. In high school at Great Neck South, he was a track and field star who broke long distance records and ranked among the nation’s top athletes. He earned a track scholarship to the State University of New York at Albany, where he broke more records.
“Running initially sparked my interest in how the human body works,” said Freeman. “I had an internship at a hospital where the nurses made a huge impression on me. After receiving a degree in biology from SUNY Albany, I enrolled at Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing.”