PHARMACOLOGY COURSE

  1. Hi-
    I'm a 2nd year nursing student, will be graduating this May and our school is offering a seperate pharmacology course this fall to take with our regular nursing course. A lot of my friends are signing up for it since most of us are going on for bachelor's degrees and think it may be of some benefit. I would also like to take it but cannot do so because my husband will be working evenings and the class is offered in the evenings and I have a 4year old. Will I be missing out on something very valuable or do you think that I can take the class later on when I'm furthering my education and be okay. I plan to go on for my master's degree anyway so I'm bummed that I can't take this class right now. Anyone have any good suggestions? Any advice greatly appreciated!!
    Thanks!
    Amy
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   maikranz
    Originally posted by amystudent:
    Hi-
    I'm a 2nd year nursing student, will be graduating this May and our school is offering a seperate pharmacology course this fall to take with our regular nursing course. A lot of my friends are signing up for it since most of us are going on for bachelor's degrees and think it may be of some benefit. I would also like to take it but cannot do so because my husband will be working evenings and the class is offered in the evenings and I have a 4year old. Will I be missing out on something very valuable or do you think that I can take the class later on when I'm furthering my education and be okay. I plan to go on for my master's degree anyway so I'm bummed that I can't take this class right now. Anyone have any good suggestions? Any advice greatly appreciated!!
    Thanks!
    Amy
    Perhaps I've misunderstood. You've not had pharmocology yet as a class in your basic nursing curriculum? Are you administering medications as a student without this class? Surely I've misunderstood.
    As for how you take a class in the evening: find a babysitter or someone in a similar situation who would be willing to trade time.
    Good luck!
  4. by   cindybeth
    I went to a four-year program that offered Pharmacology every other spring. (Only available to Juniors and Srs, of course.) I did not take the course, but definitely wish that I had.

    Even though I work in the OR now and do not give meds the way floor nurses do, when I did work on the floor I was constantly looking up everything I gave. I didn't really know anything about anything.

    I think the expectation was that, as a student, you were looking up stuff and learning it that way. That wasn't a great plan, at least for me... there was a time lapse factor between looking up the med then actually starting the job. Plus there just wasn't the volume of med administration and repetition as a student to make me learn anything. I didn't learn anything about meds except calculation until I was constantly giving it on the floor.

    Realize that being a new grad will probably be VERY, VERY difficult. (I hope it won't be, but it was one of the hardest, most exhausting times of my life.)

    Also realize that one of your MAIN responsibilities in most patient care settings is med administration. Knowing the normal doses, interactions, etc... you are RESPONSIBLE for that. (I bet I had ten med errors the first six months.) The more knowledge you have under your belt before you have the responsibility, the better!! I wonder now how maybe taking the course could have better prepared me for this responsibility. I DEFINITELY LEARNED THE HARD WAY.

    Also, be informed that you will more than likely be required to take a med test when you go through nursing orientation. Both hospitals I've worked at have required this of me. (Classes and tests are not over when school is over.) And the test could very easily cover more than just calculations.

    As far as grad school, things change. You never know what situation you'll find yourself in. You may one day be single (for whatever reason) and just unable to go to grad school, you may decide that you LOVE the ICU and never want to leave. My school did a better job of preparing me for grad school, when I wish they had prepared me for the JOB.

    I think it's obvious that my advice is TAKE the course. As far as the practicality of family issues... trade babysitting time was a good suggestion. Talk to the prof, see if she doesn't post the lecture on the web, maybe she'll be willing to make some kind of arrangement for you to take tests a different time if you study on your own... Pray?

    Okay, there's my dissertation on why take Pharm. Happy pronouncing those long words.
    Cindybeth
  5. by   sheila26
    Dear amystudent-
    I agree with maikranz...every nursing student should take a Pharm course since the student do give meds in clinicals. I went to school in chicago and pharm and med/surg were given together (junior year). Before I started at the university, I went to community college, knew that I wanted to get into nursing but wasn't in the program I took the pharm course anyway.
    The pharm course will not only teach how each med works, but will also teach you how to calculate dosages for peds patients and so forth.
    I guess my advice is, if you can, DEFINITELY take the pharm course. It will benefit you in the long run.
    Sheila
  6. by   Sian
    I can't believe that your school is not offering pharmacology as a basic part of the curriculum, I think they are short changing you. Try everything to get to that course because if there is one thing you need to know on the wards it is pharmacology; in acute medical, the problems of drug interactions, adverse reactions and toxicities are more important now than ever before. Drug administration is one area really prone to errors and you need to have a good working knowledge of at least the main classes of drugs and their side effects. You definitely won't regret it! Good luck.
  7. by   lesliee
    Wow, I feel very naive! Pharmacology was a part of my nursing curriculum. I thought that everyone had to take it during nursing school. I would definitely find the time to take the class.
  8. by   AmyRN1227
    Thanks everyone for your responses. Just to clear something up....I have had pharmacology during my nursing curriculum. The way they do it in our program is to introduce the specific drugs as we go along. Like when we are on cardiology, we learn those specific drugs and so on. This pharmacology course would be an extra course and is now just being offered. People have passed the NCLEX without taking it, it would probably just be good to have behind me but I don't know if I can fit it in since I am already taking 10credit hours with nursing, have a family, and work. I will be deciding shortly though.
    Thanks!
    Amy
  9. by   MollyJ
    Amy, you have all the info you need. The class is an elective. People pass boards without it, but as many posters have told you, pharm is basic to nursing practice and their will be likely some real benefits from taking the class. What is the more compelling weight: broadening this aspect of your nursing knowledge vs time with your kid/solving the problems of going anyhow (childcare). Only you can call it. As an old nurse with an 8 year old, I make decisions like this alot, trying to strike the balance between being a mom and professionalism.
    You can buy the book used in the class and read it/use it for a back-up reference. You'll never be done with learning about pharmacology all your career. If you can find the childcare that makes you happy, you can swing it but it will up your homework load. Good luck. No answers.
  10. by   bhart
    Wow - I thought Pharm was basic, no?
  11. by   prmenrs
    The thing that worries me is that you're trying to work at the same time as everything else. A class like pharmacology might put you over the edge!!

    At first, I was astonished, too, that a separate Pharm class was not required. Then I thought: RUN, do not walk to sign up for that class--a babysitter would be worth not recognizing a drug interaction, side effect, etc. But, now I'm torn--you've got so much on your plate, now.

    Is there any way you can cut back @ work? You need more hours to do your classwork justice! And to get a few zz's in as well.

    Best wishes!!
  12. by   BrandyBSN
    EEEK! I thought that it was required to have a separate indepth Pharm class to be accredited. Ours is a semester long, worth 3 hours, and has a mandatory pass rate on our test as a 96%. Kinda scary that other schools do not. We also learn categories of drugs in class, like with cardiac, we learn dig, OB - cytotec, but it is not the same as having an entire course devoted to nothing but meds and the 5 rights. Take the class if at all possible! I think you will really be missing out.

    Just MHO,
    BrandyBSN
  13. by   P_RN
    I think I have to agree. See if you can take the pharmacology course. If you are planning to move straight to the BS program, maybe the university will allow you to take this one course. Perhaps they offer it in the daytime.
    I went to 2 different schools at the same time and it was fine.

    Either way good luck.

    PS I just measured my pharm book from waaaaaaay back then and it was < 1 inch thick. The newest one is closer to 3 !!
  14. by   yellow rose
    At my school, basic pharm is taken before any meds are ever given. Then, advanced pharm is taken the following semester!
    These classes are some of the hardest that I have taken so far- but I can't imagine not having them!
    Tip- learn the mechanism of actions!! Not only are they favorite test questions, if you can know how a drug does what it does, it becomes much easier to figure out side effects.
    Good Luck!!!

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