Reading ahead over the summer

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    I am a late starter, but I have been accepted into the RN program at my college. I am 38 with a husband and 4 kids, so I am doing some of my reading ahead over the summer. I have Pharmacology this fall, along with Assessment, Principles, and clinicals.

    Since I want to make things easier on myself, I have already purchased my Pharmacology book and study guide. I'm working my way through it now so that when I start school in the fall, I'll have an idea of what is going on. All of the nursing students that were in my classes this winter told me that Pharmacology is the hardest class at our school - which, judging from the size of the book, I'm not surprised.

    Does anyone have any advice for me? I have dreams of being a Nurse Anesthetist in about 10-12 years, and I am a really quick learner. My GPA is high, and I'm a good test-taker, even if I'm not 100% sure of the material. I can usually make a pretty good guess and get it right. Since I want to be a great nurse, and hopefully later - an anesthetist, I want to make sure I really KNOW this stuff. I want to really learn it. I want to be able to care for my patients with confidence, knowing that I learned what I was supposed to learn.

    Thanks.
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  4. 6 Comments so far...

  5. 1
    Memorize you prototype drugs and group them that way. All drugs in a given category will have the same (or similar) mechanism of action, side effects, adverse affects, and contraindications. Remember tricks like drugs that end in -lol are usually Beta blockers, drugs that end in -pine are Calcium channel blockers, drugs that end in -pril are Ace inhibitors and so forth. Hope this helps.
    michiganstudent likes this.
  6. 0
    Thank you! I am sure this will help me a lot.
  7. 0
    I always read ahead! It helps me already know what is going on so I will not get confused in the class. Good luck
  8. 1
    Pharm is definitely the toughest class I've taken so far! Do you have Pharmacology for Nursing by Lehne? If so, that's a pretty good book. (I'm in MI, too!) Not sure if your Pharm class combines med math with it, but ours did. I'd highly recommend "Math Attack: Winning the Pharmacology Math Battle" by Karen Champion. It's terrific!

    Pharm at our school is the first nursing course you take before being admitted to the program. They use it to weed out applicants. It's a TOUGH class and is run just like all the nursing courses. Lots of reading, lots of memorization, absolutely no rounding of grades, no extra credit, etc.

    I would highly recommend making your own flashcards. Yes, you can purchase pre-paid flashcards, but I found that making them myself helped me memorize the material better. Also, if I tried to explain exactly how a drug worked out loud to myself or to another person, it helped me retain the information. I made a blank template and printed out a large stack and filled them in for my flash cards as I learned each drug prototype. It also helped to make a chart of similarities and difference in drugs when you get to drugs that affect the central nervous system (sympathetic vs. parasympathetic).

    If your school offers supplemental instruction (or tutoring) for Pharm, I highly suggest going. It made the difference between getting a B and getting an A in the course for me. Our SI was terrific. He was a 2nd year nursing student and would give us great tips on memorizing the material.

    Good luck to you!
    michiganstudent likes this.
  9. 0
    Thanks for the tips! We have med math as a prereq, and pharm is taken during the first semester of the nursing program. I got 100% in med math, so I'm hoping that it will help me in pharm, too.

    I like the idea of trying to explain the drugs to another person. My poor kids might end up learning more than they want, though.
  10. 1
    All the ideas above are great, especially the flash cards and learning the prototype drugs. I would focus on the classifications and their mechanism of action as well. This seems to take the "mystery" out of the magical pills forced upon you. Pharmacology is a difficult class but it can be done with a little work. I too went back to school later in life and have found that I can pull a lot from my life experiences to help me through nursing school.
    michiganstudent likes this.


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