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- by glomachaev Apr 26Hey guys, so on May 13 I'm starting my term in Pharmacology, and I can either sound unbelievably obsessive or nerdy, but the truth is I am stressed! All of my peers say that it is an impossible class and most people have to re take it...now obviously that is something I don't want because it would screw up my GPA and let's face it...school ain't cheap. Does anyone have any pointers on how to study for this class, any study aids you recommend or any study skills that might be helpful?? They are switching textbooks on us so I don't have my book yet either (adding to my stress)! Thanks!
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- Apr 26 by TaitI think the key for me in pharm was really focusing on the link between the med and how it would affect my patient. Thinking about how to explain it to my patient really helped stick it in my brain. If you like flashcards you could get a box of those, however don't focus on too many at once. Big meds to know are cardiac, antibiotics, and antidiabetics. I think if you could get familiar with the common cardiac meds it will give you a leg up.
This study guide is a little outdated (2004 I think?) but it has some basic Pharm overview that might be helpful: http://www.supplementalnursingservices.com/exams/DMC_studyguide.pdf
Here is a cardiac med sheet as well: http://www.vaughns-1-pagers.com/medicine/prescription-heart-drugs.htm
Best of luck!
- Apr 26 by SopranoKrisKnowing the physiology about how & why the drug works was key for me. Especially when you study drugs that affect sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous system. If you thoroughly understand what the symp/parasymp NS controls, you'll be able to understand how the drugs work in these systems. Recall from Microbiology how antibiotics destroy bacteria will get you through the antibiotics chapter (e.g. destroy cell wall, affects bacterial DNA, etc.) Plus a good knowledge of chemistry. This is the class where your pre-reqs come in to play!
Flash cards were my best friend in Pharmacology! Also, if your school offers supplemental instruction or tutoring in Pharm, GO! That made the difference in getting an A vs. a B in Pharm for me. If it wasn't for Ben, our Pharm SI and fellow nursing student, I wouldn't have got the A. It was the most challenging class I've taken so far. Most people fear the math of the dosaging problems, but I found that to be the easiest part of Pharm.
- Apr 26 by TaitYeah even with my HUGE mental block on math I aced all of our dosage tests. Definitely not the part I would be too worried about.
- Apr 27 by jinny2009It helps a lot if you organize the drugs into charts. This book does it for you:
- Apr 27 by hodgieRNBe confident going into the class. It's not impossible. It's a lot of information, but the more you keep up with it, the better you will do. You will find that things start becoming repetitive. That's a good thing.
I think one of issues with pharm is so many meds seem alike. Things seem to blend into each other and that one thing you can't recall on a drug is the one thing they ask you about. But, the good thing is there is structure. Each drug has an outline of things you need to know... Classification, mechanism of action, pharmacokenetics (metabolism), Uses (label, off-label), precautions, contraindications, dosage, administration, side effects, nursing considerations. I know that looks like a lot, but it will be exact same outline for every drug. You will find a rhythm. And, many of the drugs basically do the same thing. Beta blockers will have about 60%-80% of the same properties listed above. Benzos are basically same, ace inhibitors are basically the same, etc. So, you just spend a little more time on the tiny differences between the meds in the same class.
Learn why, how, and when. Don't learn that pt's get beta blockers after an MI; learn why they get it after a heart attack. Don't learn that beta blockers slow down the heart rate. Learn how they slow it down. Why is the heart rate slowing down?
Here is a post from another thread that might help you with studying....
Try and group the medications based on the generic name b/c most of them have a similar base term. Dibucaine, lidocaine, benzocaine, tetracaine all cause numbness. Learn how they interact with the body. How do they cause numbness? What is happening on a cellular level in the neurons? Many of them have the same side effects, drug interactions, and mechanism of action. Where they vary is metabolism or elimination. Some may have a half life of 1 hr or 12 hrs. Know their classifications. Diazepam, clonazepam, midazolam, lorazepam, alprazolam are all benzodiazepines. They all have the same basic effects. They all end in -zolam or -zepam. If a new drug called forazepam hits the market next year, you can bet on it being a benzo.
Know the difference between agonist, antigonist, anticholenergic, cholenergic, adreneric etc. Knowing what a beta2 agonist does can help you identify how a medication reacts with the body. These terms closely specify the mechanism of action. I was really bad at mixing up agonists or adrenergics b/c it all sounded the same. I zeroed in on the beta2 part, but didn't pay attention to whether it was blocked or enhanced. I payed for on the exam.
Next, study the tables in the book. It will list all the drugs together in one group. Stare at it. Identify the names and catch the similarities. Almotriptan, frovatriptan, naratriptan, eletriptan, rizatriptan all end in -triptan. All of them are selective serotonin receptor agonists. Most of these drugs are very similar, minus a couple of specifications. If one of the listed drugs is different, make a note (sometimes they like throwing that curve ball).
They are mostly looking for use, mechanism of action, adverse reactions/side effects, half life, or drug interactions. Exams love asking about drug interactions. What med can you not take with grapefruit? What happens if these two meds are given together?
Study toxicity levels. What happens if someone takes too much of a tricyclic antidepressant or maybe digoxin? Some drugs only work after a therapeutic levels is reached, but there are factors that can lead to toxicity. Renal failure, liver failure, infection can all lead to toxicity and the side effects become enhanced or toxic.
Lastly, study the same things over and over. Give yourself tons of time before the test. Don't study 2 days before the test.....it won't work. There's too more info.
On top of normal studying, dedicate every Sunday to studying your notes (for the week) as if you are taking an exam on Monday. Even though my next exam was 4 weeks away, I would have a mock cram session for the week. So, when I had to take the real exam, I had already engrained it in my head 3 weeks ago. Then, I would constantly go back and review the same thing over and over until it was redundant.
- Apr 27 by s.marie333If your textbook has key objectives outlined at the beginning of each chapter, I recommend learning them! What I did was make it sort of like a treasure hunt. I would only read the parts pertaining to the key objectives of that chapter, then write down the "answers" to those objectives. The objectives mainly pertained to the mechanism of action of the overall drug class. Once you understand the main class of medication, make notecards about specific drugs that you need to know.
For example, learn everything you can about the overall class of medications. Be sure to know how they work and interact with the body (mechanism of action). It helped me to google them to put it in "layman's term." The books get very cellular with their descriptions, so it is easier when you look at it an easier way and then understand the cellular level. Another way to think about it is "How will I explain this medication to my patient?" You aren't going to use medical jargon with patients for education. You have to break it down in simple language.
Another thing that is important: KNOW YOUR NURSING INTERVENTIONS/CONSIDERATIONS for the drugs.
DO NOT try to learn every little drug separately. It is impossible. Learn the overall class, then memorize which prototype drug goes in each class. (I suggest making flash cards for this part). For example, on one side of the card you would write: metoprolol. On the opposite side, you would write: selective beta blocker. By knowing the mechanism of action and your nursing interventions of a selective beta blocker, then you know what to do for all selective beta blockers!
Email me or message me if you have any more questions or problems! It is kinda difficult to explain, but I hope this helps!
- Apr 28 by lth1123There are some good comments on here about how to approach Pharm. I also will be starting this class on the 5/13/13, and I will take these suggestions into perspective. Thanks!
- Apr 30 by glomachaevThanks everyone so much!!! I really do appreciate it!!