How to study/learn medications

  1. 0
    Hello nurses,

    I've had my LVN license for almost two years but have not been able to get a job due to lack of experience. I recently applied to a LTC facility. I had to take a test; which I had expected and thought I was prepared for it. One of the most important questions consisted of six medications (I didn't know any of them) and I had to tell them which ones could be crushed, opened, scored, etc. My pharmacology class was a joke. I have been trying to learn them but there are so many that I just don't know how, or where to begin. Especially when they come up on test. I know how important this is but I'm overwhelm. Please help me!! I would greatly appreciate it.
  2. Get the Hottest Nursing Topics Straight to Your Inbox!

  3. 11 Comments so far...

  4. 5
    Well, anything that's enteric coated or ends in ER or SR shouldnt be crushed. Iron shouldn't be crushed. Coumadin shouldn't be split in half, though we do where I work. In my nursing school pharmacology was taught a** backwards. We spent way too much time memorizing stuff that wasn't relevant to what a nurse does. Learn CLASSES of drugs first, and then learn which drugs are in which classes. Knowing what a beta blocker is is more important than knowing every obscure detail about lopressor or tenormin or whatever individually. I can pick up any MAR in my facility (over 700 beds) and I know for a fact I can tell you what 99.9% of every med is used for. No, I don't know a lot of the physiological actions. Or a lot of the exact peak/onset times. But I know the basics. If you try to memorize *everything* you'll likely end up memorizing nothing.
    jadelpn, Elladora, ren3741LPN, and 2 others like this.
  5. 0
    Thanks Brandon, your answer was very helpful. An instructor had suggested I look them up and study them in flash cards, but there is just too much information per drug.
  6. 2
    Hello there Cindirella, do you still have your Pharmacology text book? I would read over that... at least ours doesn't have a TON of medications in it (not like the drug guide, anyway). During our class we had lists of medications we had to make notecards of... on those cards we had to put the trade name and generic name on the front, and classification, indications, a few side effects, and nursing actions on the back. This seemed to narrow things down quite a bit so we didn't feel SO overwhelmed. I think it really helped, as I still remember quite a few of them.

    @Brandon - that is VERY impressive. I wish I had your pharmacology knowledge!
    ren3741LPN and cindirella3 like this.
  7. 1
    Having a drug manual will help too. I was a bit rusty as well when I first started my job (didn't have a lot of experience with the psych meds) but I did remember the classes. It helps to remember their endings- for example:"olol" "ine" "pam" etc.. that will help you 'group' them together in your mind. Google "Do Not Crush list"..that will help you know what can not be crushed. Once you start reviewing this stuff, it will all come back to you! Good luck
    cindirella3 likes this.
  8. 0
    Quote from BrandonLPN
    Well, anything that's enteric coated or ends in ER or SR shouldnt be crushed. Iron shouldn't be crushed. Coumadin shouldn't be split in half, though we do where I work. In my nursing school pharmacology was taught a** backwards. We spent way too much time memorizing stuff that wasn't relevant to what a nurse does. Learn CLASSES of drugs first, and then learn which drugs are in which classes. Knowing what a beta blocker is is more important than knowing every obscure detail about lopressor or tenormin or whatever individually. I can pick up any MAR in my facility (over 700 beds) and I know for a fact I can tell you what 99.9% of every med is used for. No, I don't know a lot of the physiological actions. Or a lot of the exact peak/onset times. But I know the basics. If you try to memorize *everything* you'll likely end up memorizing nothing.
    This is the way I learned too. In paramedic school we learned classes and then the major drugs in each class. Of course we focused on emergency drugs but we were expected to know the drugs that our pts would be taking. Something that helped me a lot was to write down any drugs I came across that I wasn't familiar with and then look it up when I had time. Flash cards helped me too.

    Sent from my iPhone using allnurses.com
  9. 0
    Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond. These are all great ideas
  10. 0
  11. 1
    When I got my first job after 3 days of orientation I had to take a test in pharmacology

    I received a 52/100 and I asked the educator what should i study and she said read the nursing drug guide.

    I retook it again 72/100 and again 78/100 and again 84/100 now passing is 90 so i never actually passed the test. After I took it the passing became 85


    So realistically I never passed it. but if i had to take it now I would ace it because I administer these drugs everyday. So my advice would be to pretend you are administering medication. look up the top 50 medications prescribed or something like that.
    jadelpn likes this.
  12. 0
    And when you learn a med, make a notecard. It works like a flashcard. Look through them on the train, standing in line, waiting for an appointment, or from 6-7 every evening while you have some tea----look at them daily. It could be easier if you start head to toe and major illness....
    Psych meds, seizures, headaches, eye drops,heart, lung, stomach, bowel, neuropathy, diuretics, blood pressure, diabetes, antibiotics, gout, pain, sleeping pills and alzeimhers.
    If your goal is LTC, most elderly people will have issues with (and I quote) "not sleeping, cataracts, pain, sugar, pressure, gout, and those darn pills that make me pee and I can't breathe!!".
    Notecards were the best. And you could get neon ones that each color is a type of med......breaks it up a little, or perhaps I am way too type A.....


Top