SOAP Note app (Wilderness Medicine)

If you’ve had training in Wilderness Medicine, you likely learned how to do a SOAP Note for assessing a patient’s condition; this note being critical information for you as well as the higher standard of care of a physician once the patient reaches civilization. For those that have not had medical training yet, SOAP is an acronym for subjective, objective, assessment, and plan — a commonly used approach in the medical field including wilderness medicine. See here for examples of wilderness specific SOAP Notes.

Sadly, I rarely carry pen and paper in the woods, especially on day hikes and paddling. But I always have my phone in a rugged case and made waterproof when necessary. Kept on my phone, and available offline, are copious self-made notes from my Wilderness First Responder (WFR) training, including the outline for a SOAP Note.

In the back on my mind, it has always bothered me that should I have to go that route, using my phone for a medical emergency, it would be cumbersome and more time consuming than pen & paper. So much so, that recently I did a self-refresher going through my notes in preparation for some upcoming backcountry trips. Thinking to myself as I was reorganizing my files, there has got to be an app for a SOAP Note by now. Much to pleasant surprise, a quick search in the Google Play Store and I found the NOLS SOAP Note app. Also available for iPhone.

Even though I received my WFR training elsewhere, I flat out like the NOLS SOAP Note app. Taken from the application’s description online, see below what the solution offers.

Take your training with you!

With the WMI SOAP Note app, you’ll be ready to respond. It’s the perfect tool to help you perform a thorough patient assessment in training or real life. Record your findings, embed photos, and then share by email.

This powerful documentation tool developed by the NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI) will help you keep your assessment skills fresh. When managing a sick or injured person in an emergency, it can be difficult to remember all of the assessment steps. Using the Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan (SOAP) approach to recording information, this template-driven app helps you remember the order for an assessment and transform your scattered notes into a complete and organized patient report. You can create your SOAP notes offline and later email them. The WMI SOAP Note app is perfect for use both in training and in wilderness environments.

Whether you use this app personally or professionally, in the wilderness or the frontcountry, it will help you stay sharp and document patient encounters like a pro.


• Document in an offline environment.
• Get location coordinates using your device’s GPS.
• Choose from data menus to improve quality and consistency.
• Use native features such as spellcheck while writing narratives.
• Avoid losing data with autosave.
• Explore helpful information windows.
• Check vital signs with the built-in timer.
• Record multiple sets of vital signs.
• Add photos and captions to supplement your notes.
• Share your report by email.
• Review, edit, and store as many SOAP notes as you need.

NOLS MED REDWhile some may be critical of using a fragile electronic device that relies on a battery, and I won’t disagree, perhaps this can be your back-up to pen & paper. Either way, I wanted to share with you and am glad it exists. Kudos to NOLS for developing a great tool!

About Christian Noble

Chris Noble is the founder of and Woodsmoke Camping Company. A Master Naturalist, he holds a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and has worked as a Registered Forester and Certified Burn Manager in several states. Chris is also a Wilderness First Responder and since the late 90’s has been “practicing primitive” skills and taking lessons from numerous Master Woodsmen throughout North America. An advocate for Conservation, teacher of Wilderness Living Skills, and happily married, he enjoys passing what he has learned thus far to others, especially his 2 children, Emerson and Duncan.

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