10 Top Medical Apps for Patients

someone tapping app on phone

Following on from our previous blog: 10 Top Apps for Healthcare Professionals,  we set our attention to the patients themselves.

While these medical apps shouldn’t replace a routine trip to the Doctor, they may just make your life a little easier.

1. Diabetes:M

DiabetesM Medical App Icon Keeping track of diabetes is essential to keeping it under control and Diabetes:M helps perfectly by being the logbook app you need.

The app includes a vast nutrition database so you can keep track of food and nutrition as well as exercise time. With detailed reports, charts and statistics provided on almost all aspects of the diabetes treatment, Diabetes:M could well be a valuable addition if you need help keeping it under control.

iOS/Android/Free to download – premium versions available


  • Calculate normal and prolonged insulin boluses using the highly effective, top-notch bolus calculator
  • Send the reports to your supervising physician via email
  • Additional lab result records – Add a comprehensive metabolic panel, kidney function tests and much more
  • Expanded Food Database – This will allow greater access to server food database, as well as an option to save selected food as Meals and Dishes
  • Synchronization – Automatically sync multiple devices on data change. Allows you to use any of your available mobile devices to keep track effortlessly.
  • Reports – Get your reports in PDF or XLS format



2. St John Ambulance First Aid

St John First Aid Medical App IconThe first aid app from the extremely reputable St John Ambulance is a simple but potentially life saving one. It’s basic, simple and doesn’t necessarily replace the benefits of learning first hand first hand, but what it does,  it does right. When there is an emergency the app will help you know what to do in those crucial moments when basic knowledge is needed.



  • Latest first aid advice and protocols for dealing with emergency situations
  • Simple to follow with illustrated guides and voiced instructions
  • Teaches common techniques such as using an AED, the recovery position, and treating shock
  • Covers both major and minor subjects in an easy to find category layout system. Major subjects include burns, choking, poisoning and strokes, while minor subjects include allergic reactions and feeling faint

St John Ambulance First Aid App Screenshot

3. iTriage

iTriage medical app icon

iTriage is a huge healthcare and medical database where you can search for answers to do with medication, diseases, symptoms and procedures.  It was created by two ER doctors and the medical content is reviewed by Harvard Medical School to prove its authenticity and how safe it is.

Over 12 million people have downloaded iTriage giving it a 4.5 star rating from over 100k reviews proving that it is a well known and loved app that can perhaps put your mind at ease or potentially save your life. It may sound dramatic but with critical warnings included with some causes depending on the issue, it could well be the motivation you need to get you to the doctor.



  • You can search symptoms, learn about potential causes, and then iTriage will help you find the most appropriate treatment, facility or doctor
  • iTriage Doctor Search lets you find any doctor or physician quickly and easily
  • Thousands of medical symptoms, diseases, conditions, procedures, medications and drugs
  • Find the nearest hospital, emergency room, urgent care, retail clinic, pharmacy, physician, doctor, imaging center, mental health clinic, substance abuse clinic, and community health center
  • Save your personal healthcare facilities, doctors, diseases, conditions, procedures, medications, insurance information and health plan advice lines
  • Emergency hotlines, and physician and nurse advice lines



4. Instant Heart Rate: Heart Rate & Pulse Monitor

Instant Heart Rate Medical App IconContinuously rated as the world’s best mobile heart rate measurement app, Instant Heart Rate can measure your heart rate by using the camera on your phone.

It works by detecting a colour change in your finger top each time your heart beats, using an advanced algorithm to show your heart rate. Judging by the reviews and Apple’s usability of the app in its “Strength” TV ad, Instant Heart Rate produces accurate results – especially coming from a smartphone.

iOS/Android/Free/£4.99 – ‘ad free’/Premium models


  • Heart rate measurement
  • Heart Rate Activity Zone Calculator
  • Pulse waveform graphs
  • Real-time photoplethysmogram (PPG) graph
  • Continuous or Auto-Stop mode
  • Unlimited data storage and tags
  • Export data for registered users
  • StandUp test for fatigue and fitness testing
  • Apple Health App Support

Instant Heart rate Medical App icon

5. BabyBump Pregnancy Pro

babybump medical app iconBabyBump is one of the many popular pregnancy apps out there but we’ve chosen this on in particular due to it’s ease of use, many features, and it’s reviews.

BabyBump keeps soon-to-be parents informed about each stage of the pregnancy, making for an even more in-depth experience that you can track and share with family and friends. The forums and community are a great inclusion to help you get prepared for the big day and years to come.



  • Pregnancy forums
  • Countdown
  • Daily info/images – schematic embryo picture of your baby each week
  • Journal/weight tracking
  • Graphical charts
  • Contraction tracker
  • Kicks counter
  • Create a slideshow of belly photos

Babybump Medical app image

6. CareZone | Health Info Organiser

CareZone Medical App Icon

If you and/or family members need medications, it can be hard remembering names, dosages and days that they need to be taken, especially if you’re looking after an aging parent. This is where CareZone comes in.

With CareZone you can stay organised, coordinated, and in sync by always having medication details and schedules on hand, and helpfully gives you notifications when it’s time to take a med, refill a subscription or record a taken dose. Being able to create a detailed med list by taking photos is another great and time saving idea – making this app the full package.



  • Journal: document symptoms and privately share updates with family members
  • Calendar: keep track of appointments and share access with others
  • Contacts: organise & share info for doctors, pharmacies, and insurance providers
  • Notes: store insurance info, online account credentials, and other hard-to-remember details
  • To-do lists
  • Store important files and documents
  • News: receive helpful info & tips on health topics relevant to you and your family

Carezone medical app image

7. Migraine Buddy

Migraine Buddy Medical App Icon

Hopefully you don’t suffer with migraines, but if you do, it needs be dealt with in the quickest and easiest way. Ideally the migraine would be prevented in the first place.

Migraine Buddy is an advanced migraine headache and tracking app that helps users record and identify triggers, symptoms, frequency, duration, intensity and location etc, so users can prevent and take the appropriate action if one does occur. This is an app that has thought of everything to help you get easy to read reports but make sure you fill in all the fields needed when you’re completely free of a migraine, because it might just give you one.



  • Easy to use, beautifully designed interface and icons with wizard style questionnaires that guides users through the recording process
  • Record ongoing and past migraines
  • Quick tapping motion to answer the questionnaire
  • Quick access to skip and record entries at a later time
  • Add a “Buddy”: Share your migraine status with your “buddies” within the app. Let each other know when you’re migraine-free, having a migraine, and how you feel.
  • Notes section to add additional information such as food, weather conditions, barometric pressure, mood, etc.
  • Add custom fields to the questionnaire so it becomes a permanent option for users
  • Customized reports including frequency and duration, pain intensity, pain location, migraine triggers, migraine medications, migraine symptoms and helps to understand the effectiveness of medication and other migraine relief methods
  • Data is secured and protected by HIPAA-compliant cloud

Migraine Buddy medical app icon

8. Calm: Meditation to Relax, Focus & Sleep Better

calm medical meditation app icon

High stress levels? Perhaps meditation is the way forward – even on a (usually) distracting smartphone.

Once you have download the app for free, you get a 7 day course of guided-meditation exercises, with more programs and features becoming available after buying a reasonably priced subscription. If you feel like you need to take a step back away for 10 minutes a day from an increasingly busy and stressful world, or if you need to work on topics such as calming anxiety, happiness, or non-judgment, then Calm is the app for you.

iOS/Android/Free/In-app subscriptions


  • Daily Calm: a new 10-minute program added daily to help ease you into the day or unwind with before bed
  • Guided meditation sessions including hundreds of programs
  • 20+ Sleep Stories: adult bedtime stories guaranteed to lull you to sleep
  • 7 day and 21 programs for both beginner and advanced users
  • Breathing exercises to relax
  • Unguided timed meditation
  • Open-ended meditation
  • 25+ soothing nature sounds and scenes to use during meditation, yoga or to help you sleep
  • Track your progress with daily streaks and time spent meditating

9. Bowelle – The IBS tracker 

Bowelle medical app icon

Bowelle is for those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome or other gastrointestinal symptoms and is a simple to use app that keeps a record of how you feel, bowel movements, and other elements.

The app was made in hope that it helps identify some of the triggers causing your symptoms – and with such a clear and easy to use app that is completely clear of ads, it could certainly be a useful tracker.



  • Records how you feel, food &  water intake, stress levels, bowel movements
  • Charts
  • Daily average
  • Overview
  • Works with Apple Health

10. My Pain Diary & Symptom Tracker: Gold Edition

Pain Diary medical app icon

My Pain Diary does exactly what it says on the tin.  With the app you are able to record pain and symptoms you get, to report to and improve communication with doctors.

An incredibly useful app for a chronic pain sufferer, this highly customisable and well thought out app  can create PDF reports to send to your doctor or archive, so you both have a better idea on how to help yourself.



  • iCloud Sync support
  • Universal app
  • Highly customizable
  • Easy to use
  • Track unlimited conditions
  • Track multiple/unlimited times per day
  • Add past entries (change entry timestamp)
  • Edit past entries
  • Medication tracking
  • Reports
  • Note important events



How To Choose The Best Pulse Oximeter For Your Doctor’s Bag

Pulse oximetry is a simple, noninvasive and reliable method for rapidly assessing arterial oxygen saturation (SaO2/SpO2) and pulse rate in patients. It is a useful tool for assessing both adults and children.

The main indications of pulse oximetry include the assessment of acute respiratory infections, asthma, COPD and heart failure. In these situations it can provide valuable information about the severity of the illness and help when deciding on the need for hospital referral or admission.

What Are The Guidelines?

In the General Practice setting, the importance of measuring oxygen saturations has been emphasised in the NICE guidelines on COPD, the SIGN guidelines on asthma and community acquired pneumonia and the NICE sepsis guidelines. Assessing oxygen saturation should be used alongside clinical assessment, not as a standalone indicator.

Additionally, pulse oximetry helps to ensure that hypoxic patients are treated appropriately with oxygen. The NICE sepsis guidelines highlight the importance of assessing oxygen saturations when risk stratifying patients.

How Much Do They Cost?

All-in-one pulse oximeters can vary greatly in price from under £10 to over £200.

How Do I Choose A Pulse Oximeter?

There is so much choice available that it can be difficult to know where to begin. When selecting a pulse oximeter for your doctor’s’ bag, ensure that it is:

  • Lightweight & Portable – Keeping your doctor’s bag as light as possible will make your life much easier when you’re on the move.
  • Simple-To-Use – With just 10 minutes per consultation, the quicker you can perform an examination, the sooner you can help the patient. A simple-to-use pulse oximeter opens like a crocodile clip and should be able to be used on a wide variety of patients.
  • Cost-Effective – Nowadays, you don’t need a top-of-the-range model to see great results. A £30 model will serve as well, if not better than a £100+ model as they are often more lightweight and aren’t as expensive to replace if they become damaged or go missing.
  • Reliable & Accurate – It should go without saying that when assessing a patient, accurate and reliable results are essential. Look for models with signal strength indicators as one of the main causes of inaccuracy in oximetry is incorrect finger insertion.

Additional useful features include being easy to clean (by wiping with a 70% IPA swab, for example) and battery-saving features such as automatically turning off when a finger is withdrawn.

A Note On Assessing Children

When assessing children make sure you invest in a paediatric pulse oximeter as obtaining a correct fit is important to give an accurate reading. In the past, many GPs had to resort to using an adult pulse oximeter to try to assess a sick child. The readings that resulted were often incorrect, if they could be obtained at all.

As you can see above, the adult pulse oximeter (right) is too large to be used effectively on paediatric patients. The two paediatric pulse oximeters fit much more closely, keeping the sensor in contact with the skin and giving more reliable results.

At Medisave, there is a wide range of high-quality, adult and paediatric pulse oximeters from tried and trusted brands including Nonin, ChoiceMMed, Daray and many more.

Medisave Best Sellers

choicemmed md300-d finger pulse oximeter

ChoiceMMed MD300-D Fingertip Pulse Oximeter

£29.99 (ON OFFER)

Our most popular model, the MD300-D has a clear OLED display showing SpO2, pulse rate and waveform and can be configured exactly how you like it.

Find it here

choicemmed md300-c5 paediatric pulse oximeter

ChoiceMMed MD300-C5 Paediatric Pulse Oximeter

£37.49 (ON OFFER)

Our most popular paediatric model, the MD300-C5 is exceptionally lightweight, colourful and provides fast, accurate measurements.

Find it here

Nonin 9590 Pulse Oximeters

Nonin Onyx Vantage 9590 Finger Pulse Oximeter

£122.49 (ON OFFER)

The Nonin 9590 is a multi-function finger pulse oximeter for both adult and paediatric use. Lightweight, ISO compliant and comes in a choice of four colours.

Find it here

Go to the Medisave UK website for the full pulse oximeter range.

Written by Dr Surina Chibber, founder and Director of MyLocumManager Ltd.

Could There be a Cure for Diabetes?

Diabetes is a serious condition that requires careful monitoring and management. It costs the NHS an estimated £14 billion pounds a year to treat. Medical scientists have been studying diabetes for many years and looking for a cure or long term treatment.

Exciting research studies and clinical trials in the last 5 years give hope of cures, or at least greatly reduced symptoms for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

A Possible Diabetes Vaccine

Diabetes is an immune system disorder. The pancreas creates insulin, a hormone that regulates the level of glucose in your blood. With Type 1 diabetics, the immune system attacks the insulin producing cells (islets cells) and stops the production of insulin in the pancreas. This means they are unable to regulate their own glucose levels.

Many companies are working to develop vaccine for diabetes
Many companies are working to develop a vaccine for diabetes. Dawn Huczek | Flickr

Many companies are working to find a vaccine for Type 1 diabetes. The theory is that a vaccine with immunosuppressant drugs could prevent the immune system from attacking the islet cells so the patient could produce insulin.

The problem with this, however, is that by suppressing the immune system you are then making the patient vulnerable to other infections and illness. There can also be a variety of unwanted side effects, such as stomach upsets, kidney problems and reduced production of blood cells.

Scientists are currently experimenting to see if they can target specific parts of the immune system rather than the system as a whole. If this is successful it could also offer hope of a cure for other autoimmune disorders.

Targeting the Destructive Cells

Diabetes UK is funding many diabetes research projects. Dr Michael Christie from the University of Lincoln is studying the immune cells  that are thought to be responsible for attacking the islet cells, which produce insulin. This research is still at an early stage.

Dr Christie will be targeting the immune cells which attack the insulin producing cells, causing diabetes to occur.
Dr Christie will be targeting the immune cells which attack the insulin producing cells, causing diabetes to occur.viZZZual.com | Flickr

Dr Christie hopes to develop a therapy that can specifically target these damaging cells and leave the rest of the immune system to work as normal. He is looking to combine a protein found on islet cells with a with antibody protein, which marks the cells to be destroyed. The hope is that this new molecule will attract the destructive cells, which will bind with it and then also be destroyed.

Another project funded by Diabetes UK is the study by Lucy Walker at University College London, she has found immune cells (T-Cells) that can trigger the immune system attack on diabetes cells. They are looking at early autoimmune responses to find how these cells cause diabetes and if they can stop the condition from occurring.

The BCG Vaccine

There are many other ongoing diabetes studies, including research by Dr Faustman. She is also looking at the T cells that trigger the autoimmune response that causes diabetes. She is excited by clinical trials with the Bacillius Calmette Guérin (BCG) vaccine.

Dr Faustman’s team found that the BCG vaccine was killing high levels of T Cells in Type 1 diabetic participants. This shows not only that the vaccine can destroy these cells but that people with Type 1 diabetes have a higher than normal level of T cells.

Further trial phases hope to find if the BCG vaccine can effectively work as a long term affordable treatment for Type 1 diabetes.

The Artificial Pancreas

Dr Roman Horvorka has created a prototype artificial pancreas. This uses a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to check glucose levels every minute. The machine will then calculate the insulin dose required; and automatically administer it.

The Artificial Pancreas
The Artificial Pancreas. Image from www.diabetes.org.uk

The artificial pancreas is worn like a diabetes pump. It sits under the skin and uses wireless transmission to transfer the blood sugar levels to the monitor. The great news is that this can work 24 hours a day, so it offers the potential to maintain good glucose levels throughout the night as well as all day.

Dr Harkorva’s team completed a clinical trial with the artificial pancreas being worn 24 hours a day by participants with Type 1 diabetes. The results showed that the artificial pancreas was halving the amount of time for which participants had low sugar levels. As everything is done automatically the chance of incorrect dosing is greatly reduced.

This research is still in early testing stages, however, it offers hope of an easier way to monitor and administer insulin. This could be the ideal option for people who struggle to calculate their require insulin dose.

Islet Cell Transplants

In Type 1 diabetes, the insulin producing islet cells have been destroyed by the immune system. The Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has been studying these cells and possible ways for patients with Type 1 diabetes to reproduce insulin. They recently completed an islet cell transplant for diabetic Wendy Peacock.

Wendy was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 17, she is now 43. Since receiving the minimally invasive surgery she has not needed insulin injections. Other trial participants have not required any treatment for diabetes for more than a decade.

Islet Cells in the Panceas
Islet Cells in the Pancreas. Image from www.niddk.nih.gov

The current islet cell transplant procedure is to infuse the cells into the liver. Although this has had some success, the islet cells don’t always survive in the liver. DRI are currently working to develop their ‘BioHub’. This is a bio-engineered mini-organ that will mimic the pancreas and create insulin. This will be a significant development in the treatment of Type 1 diabetes.

Could Tea be a treatment for Type 2 Diabetes?

Dr Michelle Keske, a senior research fellow at the Menzies Institute in Tasmania has found a surprising potential treatment for Type 2 diabetes – blueberry tea. Their 2015 research trials show blueberry tea may reduce the dependence on insulin as it improves glucose intake in muscles and reduces blood glucose levels.

Other studies, such as those by the Journal of Nutrition have shown berries to be beneficial for diabetes as they have a chemical called anthocyanin that reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol and increases ‘good’ cholesterol. This chemical also reduces insulin resistance and decreases fasting plasma glucose levels.

The Menzies Institute in Tasmania have discovered that blueberry tea can help to reduce glucose levels.
The Menzies Institute in Tasmania have discovered that blueberry tea can help to reduce glucose levels.Health Gauge | Flickr

Cinnamon has also been proven beneficial in reducing blood glucose levels, lowering ‘bad’ cholesterol and increasing sensitivity to insulin so our body is more responsive to it. Other ingredients such as spearmint leaves and raspberry leaf are also suggested to have helpful properties for managing diabetes. This ingredient combination may enhance the effects of berry chemicals, however, research has not yet confirmed this.

The Menzies Institute have conducted pre-clinical trials testing regular intake of herbal blueberry tea and its effects on glucose levels. Gerard Spicer, a participant in one of these trials, found that introducing blueberry tea to his diet greatly reduced his glucose readings.

“Since [drinking the tea] I’ve been waking up with a more normal reading… very rarely high” – Gerard Spicer, trial participant

The tea includes raspberry leaf, spearmint and cinnamon as well as blueberry. Senior Research Fellow Michelle Keske has been studying the tea and its effects on diabetes, with the possible suggestion that it could reduce the need for insulin.

“The tea has enabled that hormone, insulin, to improve glucose uptake into muscle and by doing that it lowers blood glucose levels and it does that by stimulating blood flow”
Michelle Keske, Senior Research Fellow, Menzies Institute

Keske believes the polyphenols and flavonoids in blueberries may be the vital ingredient in the tea. Currently, it is unknown if it is the blueberry alone that stimulates blood flow or if it is a combination of ingredients.  Arguably, you could say it may be more beneficial to eat blueberries themselves as these would contain higher levels of polyphenols and flavonoids.

Green Tea to Increase Insulin Sensitivity

Diabetics will have a greater risk of developing heart disease. Suzanne Steinbaum is a Cardiologist and the Director of Women’s Heart Health at Lennox Hill Hospital. She has found that green tea is very beneficial for Type 2 diabetes and may help to lower your risk of heart disease.

Steinbaum has been researching Japanese studies and notes that people who drank 6 or more cups of green tea a day were 33% less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than people who drank less than 1 cup of green tea a week.

studies show people who drink 6 or more cups of green tea are 33% less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than people drinking less than 1 cup a week.
Studies show people who drink 6 or more cups of green tea are 33% less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than people drinking less than 1 cup a week. Dano | Flickr

Tea contains Polyphenols, these are natural antioxidants found in plants. As green tea contains higher levels of polyphenols than black tea this is better for diabetics. Polyphenols help reduce glucose and makes them ideal for preventing and controlling diabetes. Polyphenols are also great for anyone at risk of heart problems as they widen arteries, this reduces blood pressure, helps to prevent clotting and lower cholesterol.

Dr Stenibaum explains it is the Polyphenols that give the bright colours in fruit and vegetables. Unfermented leaves will contain higher levels of polyphenals and therefore green tea has a higher antioxident level than black tea.

Dr Steinbaum’s research supports the results of studies by the Menzies Institute which found blueberry tea to greatly reduce glucose levels. The brightly coloured berries contain a high level of polyphenols, so knowing these help reduce glucose, it is not surprising to find that blueberry tea lowers sugar levels.

A Potential Drug to Prevent Diabetes

The Menzies Institute have also been looking closely at the causes for Type 2 diabetes, in the hope of preventing the condition before it develops. The have discovered that insulin has a significant stimulatory effect on the flow of blood within our muscles. This also led to the discovery that increasing muscle blood flow will improve the access to insulin and the flow of glucose to the muscle cells.

With this new information, they are looking at how blood flow effects insulin up-take, and how this relationship can be used to improve insulin intake. Dr Stephen Richards is one of the researchers leading this study, along with Dr Keske and professor Stephen Rattigan. He gives hope that new drugs to stop Type 2 diabetes may be close to development:

“We are now actively investigating how insulin causes this blood flow effect, with a view to finding ways of enhancing it. As a result new drugs that reverse the impairment in insulin resistant states and prevent the onset of diabetes may soon be discovered.” – Dr. Stephen Richards, Lead Researcher, Menzies Institute


Looking at the results from recent diabetes studies, we can be confident that more efficient and manageable ways to administer insulin are under development.  There is hope that we could have a cure for diabetes in the next decade or two.

For Type 2  diabetes we can look at not just sugar intake but also consider foods that may help to reduce sugar levels, such as herbal teas and brightly coloured berries.

We will keep our fingers crossed and hope for another medical breakthrough!

Please be advised that there are many on-going and completed diabetic studies and clinical trials. While we have picked some of these to discuss we are not disregarding other diabetes studies, this is a sample of the studies we located during our research. We hope it will keep you positive with the outlook of finding a long term cure for diabetes.


Blueberry Herbal Tea Could Treat Type 2 Diabetes

Blueberry tea attracts attention of medical researchers for its potential as diabetes treatment

Blueberry Tea & Diabetes Treatment

Benefits of Drinking Green Tea for Diabetics

How Much Does Diabetes Cost the NHS


Kidshealth Type 2 Diabetes

The Benefits of Green Tea for Diabetics

Towards a Game-Changing Type 1 Diabetes Vaccine

Pancreatic Islet Transplantation

Blueberry Herba Tea Could Treat Type 2 Diabetes

Vaccine Against Type 1 Diabetes Shows Promise

Top 10 Medical Websites for GPs

doctors surgery sign

Being a GP is a time pressured job which often involves juggling patients, consultations and paperwork. Having key resources at your fingertips makes a huge improvement on your working day.

From organising expenses and tax returns to CPD and medical calculators there are almost limitless options out there. Here are the top 10 most useful websites for GPs that we think you should know about.

Continue reading Top 10 Medical Websites for GPs

Start a Career in Nursing – Celebrating International Nurses Day 2018

Nursing requires strength, endurance and compassion. It is also one of the most rewarding careers there are!

Why Choose Nursing?

If you are caring person who wants to help others this may be the career for you. You will need to have strong listening and communication skills. Some patients may have difficult health issues so you’ll need to be understanding and resilient. Nursing can be a challenging role, however, it is also extremely rewarding.

Flickr | OnCall team

If you choose to work for the NHS you will have regular pay reviews and a starting holiday allowance of at least 27 days per year, this will go up with experience. You will receive enhanced pay for out of hours, shift and overtime work. Fully qualified nurses will usually earn a salary of around £23,000, which will rise with experience. You will also be entitled the NHS Pension Scheme.

Nurses work in a large variety of settings from hospital wards, GP surgeries, schools, nursing homes and patient homes to prisons and the military. The NHS currently has an extreme shortage of nurses and this is greatly increasing the workload for nursing staff. If you are a caring person, who wants to help others this could be the career for you.

As a nurse, you will train in one main field, which will be either adult nursing, children’s nursing, learning disabilities or mental health nursing. Qualified nurses can later train for specialised careers such as midwifery, general practice nursing or being a health visitor, as well as management positions.

Nursing is a reliable job sector and nurses will always be needed, with positions available worldwide. As nurses are required 24 hours a day, nursing is a great option if you prefer to work unusual hours or if shift work is more appealing to you.

Depending on your workplace, you may need to flexible with your working hours, however, this can be an advantage if you have children or other commitments at home. Working a shift pattern such as long days (3 x 12-hour shifts for example) may be more suitable than a five day week.

‘It’s much better for me to work three long shifts a week, then I only need childcare for three days. As my shifts vary between weekdays and weekends my family can sometimes help out with childcare.’

~ Lucy Foot, a nurse at Dorchester County Hospital, on balancing motherhood with a nursing career.

There is no upper age limit to start a career as a nurse and your previous work and life experience may give you useful skills that would transfer to nursing. Parenting, caring for a family member with disabilities, working with children or work in a team based environment can give you skills that are almost impossible to teach but are highly desirable in a nurse. If you are bilingual this is also a great benefit in any nursing environment.

How to Get into Nursing

There are a variety of routes into nursing. You can choose to gain experience in an entry level role and work towards further qualification through vocational training courses, such as an apprenticeship.


Nursing lecture theatre
Flickr | University of Liverpool Faculty of Health & Life Sciences

Alternatively, you can apply to a university and study for a nursing degree. Courses will be split between classroom study and work placements, with coursework to complete.

To complete your course you will be required to sit written exams to show your theoretical knowledge and practical examination scenarios so you can demonstrate your skills and experience.

If you opt to go straight into the workplace as a healthcare assistant you can always apply for a university course at a later stage if you decide to gain more formal qualifications.  Relevant experience will help when you are trying to progress in a nursing career and when your employer is assessing your pay scale.


Another route into nursing is with a secondment, this is a great option if you want to keep earning while you work. With a secondment, you attend university part-time while you continue work as a health care assistant or practitioner for an NHS organisation.

If you are currently working as a healthcare assistant and you are looking to develop a career in nursing, talk to your employer as most workplaces will be happy to support staff development. If you do decide to choose this route please note you that you may not be eligible for a  for financial support.

Flickr | Walt Stoneburner

Entry level for University courses vary, there isn’t an official minimum requirement nationally. However, most courses will require at least five GCSE’s at grade C or above and two or three A-levels or equivalent qualifications.

You can check university courses online and they will advise the entry requirements. This will also give you a good overview of the course and what will be expected of you. For help selecting a university course and for advice on your application visit the UCAS site.

If you are completing your GCSE’s and looking to go into nursing in the future you should consider this when making your A-level choices. Subjects such as biology or social sciences will be useful in your future career and may give you an advantage on your application.

As well as general nursing, there are a variety of courses and positions available. You may want to consider your long-term goal and if you would like to work towards a specialist career. Having a long- term plan will also help you to stay focused during your studies.

Stand out on your Application

If you are applying for a nursing course at university you may want to consider getting some paid or voluntary experience first. This will give you the chance to make sure nursing is the right career for you. It also shows course admissions boards that you are keen and will make your application stronger.

Course admissions boards receive hundreds of applications every year, you want to make sure your application stands out. If you can demonstrate a genuine interest in the field and show you have relevant experience it will really enhance your application.

“I got into nursing because I had a desire to help people and liked the idea of being there for someone during the hard times of their life. […]

I was turned down by one University for failing a written exam despite having dyslexia, which affects my spelling. I applied for Bournemouth University because I loved the course layout and the area. The interview was about how humanising we would be as nurses rather than how well we could do maths and spell.”

~ Cody Kelly, second year nursing student at Bournemouth University

You will be required to write a personal statement to explain why you want to start a career in nursing and work experience will give you a good basis for your personal statement.

Volunteer Nursing Abroad
Flickr | US Army Africa

Voluntary Work

Voluntary work doesn’t have to be limited to UK hospitals or care homes, you could apply for work experience abroad, this also shows you are happy to work in new environments and that you can be independent.

Useful experience doesn’t have to be in a nursing setting, any roles that show you work well in a team, have leadership skills, demonstrate strong communication skills or roles that show you are interested in working with people will look great on your application.

If you would like further information on starting a career in nursing you can visit the NHS career planning and National Career Services websites.














Hand Washing & How to Prevent Dermatitis

Handwashing with Soap
Hand washing with soap Flickr | Arlingtonva County

During observational studies the World Health Organisation (WHO) found that health care workers cleaned their hands, on average, from five to thirty times during a shift. Whilst this is great for infection control you may be damaging your skin if you are regularly washing your hands.

Ecolab Spirigel Complete Pump 60ml
Ecolab Spirigel Complete Pump 60ml

The British Association of Dermatitis (BAD) suggests washing your hands more than 10 times a day increases your change of skin conditions such as Dermatitis. One of the most common forms is Irritant Contact Dermatitis which has symptoms from irritation, dryness and itching to cracking and bleeding.  It is very common amongst medical professionals.

Dermatitis can occur due to many factors, including soaps, harsh chemicals and repeated contact with water. Frequent hand washing can remove the oils in your skin that are vital to protect and moisturise it. Without these your hands can become dry and your skin will be more vulnerable to chemicals and irritants. Allergic Dermatitis can also occur with hand sanitising products and gloves.

Protect Your Hands

At Medisave we know how important it is to practice good hand hygiene but we don’t want your hands to suffer. The following steps can help to reduce soreness and protect your hands.

Love your hands
Love your hands Flickr | le vent le cri

Use an Alcohol Based Hand Sanitiser

When hand washing use an alcohol based hand sanitisers containingemollients (moisturisers) rather than soap to reduce Dermatitis symptoms. Emollients are a mixture of oils (creams), paraffin (ointments) and water. These hydrate and smooth the skin, helping to reduce soreness and prevent skin from become dry or cracked.

Ecolab Spirigel Complete Virucidal Alcohol 750ml Hand Gel
Ecolab Spirigel Complete Virucidal Alcohol 750ml Hand Gel

Swap to Hand Sanitisers

These use less fluid so they are gentler on your skin. These will also last longer than a regular handwash so can be great for your budget too!ecolab soap banner

Check Your Glove Material

Check your glove material if you are getting flare ups, you may be having an allergic reaction to the material. We sell a variety of gloves including latex free versions.

Ecolab Spirigel Complete Pump 500ml
Ecolab Spirigel Complete Pump 500ml

When selecting a glove material (PVC, Nitrile, latex etc) you should consider the chemicals or allergens being used. The British association of Dermatologists (BAD) advise that gloves should be clean and dry inside and not broken. This is important as applying gloves to wet hands can increase the chance of skin irritation.

Wear a Barrier Cream

Wear a barrier cream when you are dealing with chemicals and gloves can’t be worn. This should stop irritants from making contact with your skin. After the process you can then cleanse your hands with an alcohol based hand sanitiser or foam sanitiser.

hand moisturising

Moisturise Your Hands

Moisturise your Hands will help to reduce dryness, soreness and cracking. Non-scented products will be less likely to cause flare-ups. Some petroleum based moisturisers can cause Latex gloves to deteriorate, if you are working with these would be better to opt for a water based moisturiser.

Use pH Neutral Soaps

Some situations do require hand washing with soap and water rather than using a sanitiser.  The gentlest soaps will be pH neutral. Aloe Vera is often used in moisturisers as it has great healing properties, however we suggest choosing a lanolin option as this is a better moisturiser.

Ecolab Spirigel Complete Pouch 800ml
Ecolab Spirigel Complete Pouch 800ml

Although Lanolin is a great moisturiser it can sometimes cause allergic reactions, particularly if its not a pure form. There are many Lanolin products on the market, you should opt for a pharmaceutical product containing medical grade Lanolin. These will contain the purest form of Lanolin and will be less likely to cause allergic reactions or aggravate Dermatitis.

Visit Your GP

Please note that this is a guide to help prevent and handle dermatitis, however it should not replace professional medical advise or HSE recommendations. If you are experiencing extremely sore hands or the symptoms do not improve please visit your GP. They can check for any skin conditions you may have and in some circumstances they may prescribe medication.










10 Top Apps for Healthcare Professionals

Doctor Using Tablet
Photo by NEC Corporation of America with Creative Commons license.

Smartphones are a huge part of day to day life, and mobile health is developing at incredible speeds as mobile technology keeps expanding. More and more healthcare professionals are using their smartphone apps to provide more efficient healthcare.

We list 10 top apps that a healthcare professional could find beneficial in a healthcare environment.

1. Medscape

medscape apps icon


Medscape is one of the leading medical apps and resources used by healthcare professionals.

The app, developed by WebMD, allows Physicians to ask clinical questions, share images and discuss cases with only a registration required. With over 4 million registered users, this app is a must.



  • Medical news
  • Drug information & tools
  • Disease and condition information
  • Medical Calculators
  • Drug formulary information
  • Offline access
  • Medical education courses
  • Quickly look up medications and dosages with the Drug Reference Tool



2. Figure 1  

Figure1 healthcare apps icon

You could call Figure 1 the Instagram of the medical world. The idea is to view and share medical images and cases to sharpen medical knowledge on the go and ask healthcare professionals for instant feedback. Having over 1 million medical professionals using the app and being rated highly,  it could be seen as an essential learning and collaborative tool.



  • View thousands of real-world teaching cases from Physicians and Nurses in hundreds of specialities
  • Page healthcare professionals around the world for instant feedback
  • Communicate with your colleagues using secure, encrypted direct messaging
  • Recognise rare conditions in patients



3. UpToDate

uptodate apps icon

UpToDate is an evidence-based, Physician-authored clinical decision support resource with over 1.3 million clinician users in 197 countries.  With over 30 research studies confirming that widespread usage of the app is associated with improved patient care and hospital performance, it’s clear that numbers don’t lie and UpToDate is a worthy inclusion. Just be careful of the high individual subscription cost.

iOS/Android/Free to download (individual or institutional subscription required).


  • Persistent login
  • Easy search with auto-completion
  • Earn and track free CME/CE/CPD credit
  • Bookmarks and history
  • Mobile-optimized medical calculators
  • Print and email topics or graphics to patients and colleagues



4. Touch Surgery

Touch Surgery Medical Apps

Certainly a visually appealing medical app, Touch Surgery is an interactive (and fun looking!) mobile surgical simulator that guides you through a range of operations.

Though potentially more suited toward Surgical Trainees, there’s no doubt that more experienced healthcare professional can still learn and refresh their knowledge.



  • Learn operations step-by-step in the training mode
  • Experience realistic surgical environments created with state-of-the-art 3D graphics
  • Track your results and measure your progress
  • Build a personalised library of procedure
  • Learn new techniques from top physicians
  • Spy glass feature allows you to identify and learn about the instruments, tissues, muscles and bones contained in procedures
  • Access a wide range of 3D simulations
  • Share your progress with fellow professionals



5. Medtimer

Medtimer medical apps icon

Medtimer has been included because of its ease of use and accuracy. It has been crafted to enable health professionals to time heart rate (HR) and respiratory rate (RR) while removing the need to perform calculations or counting. Allowing full concentration on your patient and being a completely free and non disturbing app (no advertising) makes it a quick and easy essential to add to your smartphone.



•   Works for heart rate (HR) and respiratory/breathing rate (RR)
•   Count the number of beats or breaths for you
•   Calculate the rate per minute from the count (BPM)
•   Display comparison charts for all age ranges
•   Works across all of your Apple devices including phones, tablets and watches

Medtimer healthcare app icon


6. Epocrates

epocrates medical apps icon

Similar to Medscape, Epocrates is another popular drug reference app that also includes a few tools such as BMI checker. Users can search medications by generic name, brand name or using a list of conditions.

The app is free to download and use but has basic features until you pay for a yearly subscription, but with over 1 million users, it has to be worth it.

iOS/Android/Free – yearly subscription starting at £119.99.


•   Review drug prescribing and safety information for thousands of brand, generic, and OTC drugs
•   Check for potentially harmful drug-drug interactions among up to 30 drugs at a time
•   Identify pills by imprint code and physical characteristics
•   Access timely medical news and research information
•   Find providers for consults and referrals in the Provider Directory
•   Select national and regional healthcare insurance formularies for drug coverage information
•   Perform dozens of calculations, such as BMI and GFR
•   Coordinate care securely with HIPAA-compliant text messaging


7. Doximity

Doximity medical apps

Touted the LinkedIn for Doctors, Doximity is a social networking app with over 60% of Clinicians signed up. Staying connected with your colleagues is only part of the appeal as Doximity includes tools for HIPAA-secure communication, electronic faxing and custom curated medical news to name a few.

Having raised $54 million funding in 2014 and the extremely high rated app experience, you can be sure that you need this app on your smartphone.



  • HIPAA-secure encryption
  • Find colleagues, specialists, news, and more
  • Get your very own free HIPAA-secure fax line
  • Stay up to date with articles chosen just for you
  • Find consulting and career opportunities


8. Pocket Anatomy

pocket anatomy apps icon

Another app that could be more suited to a junior healthcare professional, Pocket Anatomy is similar to Touch Surgery due to its visual appeal.

With this app you can search through thousands of anatomical structures then move and zoom through high resolution complex medical structures. It will be a challenge and refresher for a junior or a more experienced healthcare professional.

iOS/£9.99 + Video Credit purchases.


  • Intuitive search – Suggestions after the first characters of the word
  • Intuitive navigation – Fly around the human body by swiping your finger
  • Rich content – Full 3D male and female anatomy
  • Clinical relevance – Anatomical structures in each layer are pinned for identification
  • Great study tool – If you’re studying for an exam you can enter notes next to a pin and bookmark content, and also quiz yourself or colleagues.



9. Induction

Induction medical apps icon

Induction is a single place to store all the numbers and bleeps you need every day as a medical professional working in a hospital.

Having a huge directory only a few taps away in an app that’s quick and easy to use, makes this one of our must have apps if you work in a hospital.



  • Location-based extensions
  • Private information
  • Healthcare professionals can contribute
  • Secure
  • FAQ database control

Induction healthcare app icon


10. Read by QxMD

Read by QxMD medical apps icon

Like to read? Then Read by QxMD is the app for you. It provides a place where you can keep up to date with new medical and scientific research literature, and search PubMed for articles.

With thousands of outstanding topic reviews and access to millions of articles in one app where you can organise your own personal collection, Read by QxMD is a clear choice if you’re an avid reader and learner of medical research.



  • Get full text PDFs with one tap
  • Keep up with the latest new research that will impact your practice
  • Browse through thousands of outstanding topic reviews
  • Search millions of articles from PubMed and our database of outstanding topic reviews
  • Read your favorite journals or browse article collections
  • Access full text through your university/institutional subscription or via open access publishers
  • Share articles with colleagues over email, Twitter and Facebook
  • Organize and review your personal collection of articles



Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

women laughing in restaurant

Every year over 7000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. In our guide to Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, we aim to help raise awareness by going through symptoms, statistics, and general information which could help with an earlier diagnosis.

What is Ovarian Cancer?

Ovarian cancer is cancer arising from the cells in and around the ovary and fallopian tube. There are many different types of ovarian tumours classified by the types of cells and tissue they originate from.

Ovarian tumours tend to develop from three kinds of tissue:

  • Around 85-95% come from epithelial cells. This means the cancer started in the surface covering the ovary. These tumours are more likely to occur in women aged 50 and above. They are sometimes referred to as carcinomas.
  • 5-8% per cent of tumours come from stromal cells. The stroma is the supportive tissue of the ovary. Stromal cell tumours may occur in women of any age, although certain tumours, such as androblastomas, may be more common in adolescence.
  • 3-5%  of ovarian tumours come from germ cells. They are the cells in the body that develop into sperm and eggs. Germ cell tumours tend to occur in younger women.


Research shows only 3% of women in the UK can confidently name a symptom of ovarian cancer which is dramatically small. Symptoms are:

• Pelvic or abdominal pain
• Increased abdominal size/persistent bloating
• Difficulty eating/feeling full quickly
• Needing to wee more urgently or more often

There can be other symptoms such as a change in bowel habits, extreme fatigue, unexplained weight loss, or loss of appetite. These symptoms will be frequent and persistent – usually happening around 12 or more times a month. If you regularly get these symptoms and they are not normal for you, it’s time to visit your GP.

Target Ovarian Cancer symptoms leaflet


A women’s risk of getting ovarian cancer increases with age, with most cases appearing in women that have gone through menopause (around 50 years old). However though, around 1000 young women develop a type of ovarian cancer too, which is why it is important that women of all ages are aware of the symptoms, and what the next steps are.

Next Steps

Act early  if you feel like something could be wrong. Listen to your friends and family for advice, and if they mention concerns. Make an appointment as soon as possible at your GP, and bring a family member or friend with you for support.

Your GP should do a CA125 blood test which will measure the level of CA125 (a type of protein) in your blood stream. Depending on the results of the blood test, they could recommend an ultrasound on your stomach and ovaries which creates a picture of the tissues and organs inside your body.

Man supporting woman


Treatment for this type of cancer is fairly standard in terms of removing cancer, but can vary depending on the stage of diagnosis and type.

It is common to treat cancer with surgery to remove the majority and then chemotherapy to kill the lasting cancer cells. In some cases surgery is deemed too risky and chemotherapy is recommended from the start, while in other earlier cases, surgery may be all that is needed.

Fundraising Ideas

  • Hold a coffee morning
  • Organise a garden/theme party
  • Hold a car boot sale
  • Hold a pub quiz
  • Have a casual clothing work or school day
  • Talent contest
  • Bake sale
  • Bucket collection
  • Sponsored run

Lady holding cup of tea coffee

Ovarian Cancer in Numbers

  • 7300 women are diagnosed each year in the UK
  • 4100 women lose their lives each year – that’s 11 women in the UK who die every day from ovarian cancer
  • A woman in the UK has a 2% chance of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime
  • When a woman is diagnosed at the earliest stage, her chance of survival for 5 years or more doubles from just 46% to more than 90%
  • 44% of GP’s mistakenly believe symptoms only present in the later stages of ovarian cancer
  • Just 1 in 5 UK women can name bloating as a symptom of ovarian cancer
  • Almost half of women must wait 3 months or more from visiting their GP to getting a correct diagnosis
  • 26% of women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed though A&E
  • 31% of women mistakenly think the cervical screening programme would detect ovarian cancer

If you would like to donate, or fundraise on behalf of the charity and cause, visit www.targetovariancancer.org.uk where you will find more information, downloads, and ways you can donate.

Reference and images – www.targetovariancancer.org.uk

What is Blood Pressure and How Do You Keep It Healthy?

Blood pressure cuff on mans arm

When you have your blood pressure tested it can be difficult to understand the results and how they are going to affect you. We have created the following guide to help you understand what blood pressure is, how to identify if you are in a risk category and how you can maintain a healthy blood pressure.

What is Blood Pressure?

When your heart beats it is pumping blood around your body and supplying you with oxygen and energy. Blood pressure is the measure of how hard your blood is pushing against the sides of your blood vessels as it flows around your body. High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) puts extra strain on your arteries and can lead to many health problems. These include stroke, heart attack, coronary heart disease, kidney disease and dementia. Low blood pressure (also known as hypotension) is generally not a concern. However sometimes there can be issues if your blood level becomes unnaturally low, such as dizziness or fainting.

Blood pressure is measured in ‘millimetres of mercury’ (mmHg) and will be made up of two numbers. The first number is your Systolic blood pressure, this is the highest your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats. The second number is the diastolic blood pressure. This is the lowest level your blood pressure drops to between beats. Ideally your blood pressure should be should be below 140/90mmHg.

What is Healthy Blood Pressure?

The systolic blood pressure (the first number, the highest level when your heart beats) should ideally be between 90 and 140. The diastolic blood pressure (the second number, the lowest level when your heart rests between beats) should be between 60 and 90.

An illustration from The American Heart Association showing how blood pressure is displayed.
An illustration from The American Heart Association showing how blood pressure is displayed.

Why you should monitor your Blood Pressure

It is estimated by the British Heart Foundation that as many as 7 million people in the UK are living with undiagnosed high blood pressure, this is more than 1 in 4 adults. The symptoms for high blood pressure are subtle and can easily be overlooked. The only way to know your blood pressure is to test it. You should particularly pay attention to this if you are overweight, elderly, have diabetes, are a smoker, are a heavy drinker or if you have a family history of high blood pressure.

The British Heart Foundation recommend that anyone over 40 has a health check with their GP or nurse practitioner. This includes a blood pressure test. You can measure your blood pressure at home or visit your GP if you would prefer them to check this. If you have any concerns with your blood pressure please visit your local GP.

Blood Pressure Monitor and reading.
Blood Pressure Monitor and reading.

How to Lower Your Blood Pressure

By keeping your blood pressure low you can reduce the chance of heart attack or stroke. You can lower your blood pressure by having a healthy diet and exercising regularly. A healthy balanced diet should include a variety of fruit and vegetables and be low in fat, sugar, salt and alcohol. Low calories or fad diets are not recommended as your body will not get the required nutrients for you to function efficiently, and you may find you feel lethargic or faint. Your GP may also prescribe medication to reduce your blood pressure.

Blood Pressure Medication
cogdog/Flickr/CC by 2.0

You don’t have to be an athlete to increase your exercise – simple changes like walking rather than driving, taking the stairs rather than the lift or doing a 15 minute work-out will increase your fitness. There are also lots of fitness activates you can do, such as joining a local club, bowling, or swimming.

The independent charity Drinkaware are working to lower alcohol misuse and harm in the UK. They have been researching the effects of alcohol consumption and advise warn that one of negative health effects from excessive alcohol consumption is hypertension (high blood pressure). Drinkaware recommended we consume less than 14 units a week (spread through out) and have several drink free days. They note that excessive caffeine, lack of exercise and junk food can also lead to high blood pressure. Drinkaware suggest you should aim to cut down if you have more than 4 cups of tea, coffee (or another caffeinated drink) per day. If you are concerned about your blood pressure please visit your GP for a check-up. If needed they can prescribe medication to reduce your blood pressure.

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What Would You Like To See On The Medisave Blog?


we need you text

What Would You Like To See On The Medisave Blog?

At Medisave we want to give you the best service possible, whether it be the products we sell, low prices, customer service support, or our social media outreach.

Today we are asking you what you would most like to see and read on the Medisave blog. Over the course of 2017 and onward we are looking to make a huge push in our blog posts and make them as relevant as possible to our readers.

With this in mind we have created a poll to get a better idea of what topics and subjects you would like to see. We have several general answers of which you may choose up to two, and we would really value your input!

laptop with blog poll results

While we will certainly be listening to what you – our readers – have to say, we will still vary the type of posts to maintain some variety.  It is important to us to gather information on what topics you would spend your time reading so we can focus on the most popular choices.

Thank you for taking part and voting.  Our goal is to produce quality content related to everything that Medisave is a part of, and who better to decide on favoured content than the people who will be reading it.

What would you like to see more of on the Medisave blog? You may choose up to two answers.
17 votes