Learning Drugs

  1. I am currently on break before my next semester of nursing school. The two classes that I have are: Health Promotion Across the Lifespan and Adult Nursing I. In addition to preparing for these classes, I'd like to start learning a few drugs.

    I came across the top 100 drugs (according to drugs.com). Can someone give me any advice on the best way to approach learning these drugs? Right now, I'm focusing on the brand name, generic name and major points. Here's my on-going list: http://docs.google.com/View?id=drvvnmg_111dtp3xbc7

    Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   okilokiRN
    I am assuming that you haven't taken Pharmacology yet. I am also assuming that Adult is your first hospital-based clinical (that's what it's called in my school).

    In Adult you will probably also need to know the drug classifications (i.e., pharmacologic class, pregnancy class, etc.). You will NEED to know this in clinical. When I was in Adult we had to compare drugs according to class and explain the different things that they do.

    Be careful, though, about sites that are more geared toward consumers than health care professionals. You need more information than they do. In class we needed to do "drug cards", which consisted of generic and brand names, uses, pharmacologic classification, adverse effects, drug-drug interactions, nursing interventions, etc.

    If you want to study the "main" drugs I would focus on these things. Not necessarily to memorize all 100 of these "most prescribed drugs", but you should know that main points for the BIG drugs (i.e., heparin, insulin, etc.).

    You also may want to consider taking Pharmacology alongside your other courses, if you can manage it. I took Pharm at the same time as Adult, and it helped A TON with clinical, especially with my drug cards.

    Best of luck!
  4. by   choc0late
    I agree to learn the major ones first. Start with the various insulins, then the anti-coag's-heparin and coumadin, then Beta Blockers. Look at the sites that show you how looking at the drug name can clue you into the class. Beta blockers all end in olol, or two backwards b's for beta blockers. ACE inhibitors end in "pril" etc. Definatly learn the drug classes. That's how they teach pharm. You learn a few prototype drugs from the class but if you get down the basic side effects each class has and then know how to tell what the drug class is by the name your on your way. My index cards I made had the drug class, some drug name examples, S/E, A/E, interactions, and any pertinant teaching points, like take with food or without. That type of stuff. But really the actual class helps the most. It's hard to study without a base, and the teachers give you that base. I didn't look at your list, I'll look now and come back if I see any suggestions I can offer. I think I have a pharm study guide on my comp. I can send you that of you want?
  5. by   emtoh17
    Are you seriously trying to learn all of these drugs from a website?? My goodness, you will be burned out before school even starts.... I know you are trying to get prepared, however i think you are going about it the wrong way. I looked at the website you posted and you are not going to benefit from remembering all of those drugs at once. Here is a list of the most common drugs that I have encountered over the last 1 1/2 yrs.....
    ALL Insulins (peak, onset and duration)
    -Ferrous Sulfate
    -ACE inhibitors
    -Beta Blockers
    -Calcium channel blockers
    ***This list is NOT all inclusive, it is just what i could remember off the top of my head***

    Some important points to remember for meds are..

    -Usual dose
    -Nursing Implications
    -Side effects
    Last edit by emtoh17 on Jul 7, '10
  6. by   choc0late
    Okay, now my personal opinion on your list is fine for you to flat out study for. But it's alot of information to remember. I would cut that down and just make some bullets that are just easier to remember maybe something like
    Atenolol-Beta Blocker-(now you have learned the class, so you know what beta blockers do, you could also assume what type of patient would receive them as you know what they do, and because the drug Atenolo ends in olol you know it's a beta blocker.
    S/E- what are the side effects of BB'ers? Well what's the expected effect? To lower the pt's HR, so bradycardia would be a side effect.
    Interaction-What other drugs could interact with a BB? Why? Well let's think, the goal is to slow a person's HR so you would not want them on stimulants, right? Does this make sense? This was just kinda my mindset when learning pharm, but again this was acquired from my teacher and the text book. Another thought that actually may work better for you would be to learn some of the meds for some of the conditions your learning. If your learning about the thyroid issues say, look up the meds for that. I think it all ties in so nicely and just makes everything more logical. Geez, I hope I didn't confuse you! I just hate to go back and delete everything I wrote up there, but I think now learning the meds to match some conditions your covering now would really be your best bet.
  7. by   JBGC4
    Okay- get some multi-colored post-its. Put the name of drug on the front, and info upside down on the back. Put these post-its here and there around the house. When you pass one, read it.
  8. by   1234student
    I just finished Adult health I in the spring and in my ADN program we do not have a pharm class so we learn the drugs right along with the material. If your program does not have pharm or recommend a pharm book I would get one. I have Phamacology: A nursing process approch...its really easy to read. Also Kapplan sells and box of 300 drug flash cards (the most common used and tested on the NCLEX for like $17 bucks on Amazon and they are simple and easy to learn like it gives you all the names, class, common side effects, and any special nursing considerations. Or you could always use a drug book and make your own flash cards
  9. by   choc0late
    JBG-That post it idea has got to be the best idea I have heard yet! *Runs off to make some post it's*