You may want to wait until school starts. Some of the software is NOT cheap and your school may require a certain type of software. My program required I purchase ePocrates, which includes a drug guide, lab values and other tools. I have found it to be very helpful. It updates itself every time I sync my PDA so I always have the latest updates. The downside: it's a subscription, and for one year it was $150, for two years it was $250. So it's not cheap. I also bought the prentice hall nurse's drug guide (also required) and it came with a PDA version for free. I use that also.
First of all, check with the school. The instructors may already have their syllabi printed and you might be able to get your list of required texts. Another good suggestion is to check with the campus bookstore. Any book that you can get a PDA version (Lab value book, drug guide, lippincott's manual of nursing practice, etc.) of the title, it's safe to load them at least.
My school doesn't care what software we use. Because money is tight (cuz I'm not working while in nursing school) I can't afford the software just yet, but I did get free trials to check things out & see what I do & don't like. skyscape.com is a great site, unboundmedical.com/store also has some good stuff. I do have epocrates, a free drug guide, I think it was at epocrates.com, do a google for it. And I got diagnosaurus for free from unboundmedical.com/store, go down to the bottom of the page.
Don't be in a big hurry. I got all excited about my PDA & bought several programs to use for school & have no idea what is in them. I do know that I have lots of information that is repeated in other programs. I suspect that I could have just as easily gotten along with half the programs I bought.
Yeah, I've noticed that with the free trials I got, a lot of info is repeated in them, so I've been trying to decide which ones I can get by with at the most effective means. I've got my list narrowed down & I think I made good choices. Just waiting for $$$
I use my Palm Tabers and Davis Drug Guide all the time, even during lecture to look up terms the instructor uses that I've forgotten (like diaphoresis--what's wrong with saying 'sweat'?). I also carry it with me during clinicals to look up stuff and also to write myself notes, etc. I love it!
i really like epocrates and thompson clinical xpert for drugs. it has calculators, disease, alt medicine, interactions, lab advisor & toxicology. i use it all the time for work and for school. i use if for spelling and interactions mostly.
I'm planning to get that constellation from skyscape, and there's a list of programs you can add on to it for 20% off. I am planning to add on the IV drug guide, the herbal guide, the diseases/disorders, & tabers. All of that is $236.