Q about med pass...

  1. Hi,
    I am an LPN student. I started this January (2010) and have a question. Up until now, I have been getting straight A's on the exams and such, but am having a hard time applying my book 'smarts' to clinical. This past week was just awful and now I am thinking maybe I just don't have what it takes to make it as a nurse. My question is..during school, did anyone else's teacher put SUCH emphysis on medications??? I am not talking about how to pass them--I am talking about knowing the action the drug has on the body. Our instructor is very 'theory' oriented ( her words not mine) and so, we spend only about an hour to two TOPS on the floor in clinical. the other 3 hours is spent reveiweing charts, and labs. We are expected to know the normal and critical values of each lab, how the test is conducted, what medications would be perscribed and then what action each med has on the body. I feel like we don't spen time on the basics enough. I have only a couple weeks left and have yet to give a shower, or complete ADLS. I feel as if I have learned nothing at all exept book work. and now I am moving to acute care in a hospial and couldn't tell you how to clean a caathetar or how to even give a bed bath.
    This week was my first time passing meds ever and I needed to know the therapeutic and pharm. classification of each along with the action on the body, drug-drug, and adverse effects, and pt. teaching BY HEART for ALL 17 meds. I had to look at my med sheets and was basically ripped into about being a sloppy nurse and for being unprepared. Im sorry, but I dont feel that knowing hat much about meds is as important as knowing how to complete basic care. Is this how it normally is?? will i learn more later? did anyone feel as crappy as I do and totally want to throw in the towel at any point? and the main Q..is knowing all this information REALLY that important to work as an LPN?? I understand about drug-drug and pt teaching, but to know the complete action of each med and how it effects teh body, what part of the brain, what part of the body, onset peak and duration, and how it effects both the CNS and PNS seems just like waaaaay too over kill.. any comments are welcome, I am feeling really despaired right now. Thanks guys.
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    About Mommyof3Boys

    Joined: Jan '10; Posts: 14
    Charge Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience


  3. by   loriangel14
    If you are spending an hour or two on the floor are you not doing any patient care at these times?
    Fully understanding the medications you are giving is very important. This pretty much the way it was when I went to school.Even now as a working PN I look up stuff that I am not familiar with if I have to give it.
  4. by   liberty_bell
    Passing meds is what an average LVN does all day. Maybe your school is putting so much into that since that is the primary job of an LVN. Of course there are other duites but for the most part you will see the LVN passing meds up and down the hall with the med cart on wheels!!! Don't give up now!!! You can do it!!
  5. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from Mommyof3Boys
    I have only a couple weeks left and have yet to give a shower, or complete ADLS. I feel as if I have learned nothing at all exept book work. and now I am moving to acute care in a hospial and couldn't tell you how to clean a caathetar or how to even give a bed bath.
    I have been working as an LPN/LVN for more than 4 years, and I don't give bed baths, showers, or complete ADLs. I spend the vast majority of my time with medications: administering them, charting on them, taking off new medication orders, etc. In other words, the bulk of my job revolves around medications. At my workplace, the CNAs complete the ADLs and bathing.

    Therefore, it is very important to know the actions of all of the medications that you're responsible for giving.
  6. by   Forever Sunshine
    You aren't going to learn everything about meds overnight. I've been working as an LPN for 2 months. I still am looking in my drug books at home about meds that some of my patients are on.

    Make yourself drug cards..put the name of the drug on the front and on the back put info that you need to know(what it is used for, action, dosage, nursing implications, side effects and drug interactions).

    As for basic care(washing, toileting).. you rarely are going to be doing that because most of your shift is going to be giving med pass. The rest is fingersticks, dressing changes, g-tube feedings, nurses notes/charting etc. One of my nursing instructors told us "You can do the CNA's job.. but they can't do yours.. " To be honest.. I am terrible at bed baths also.
  7. by   Lorrie34
    Yess, we were drilled about our meds and the actions, therepeutic ranges, side-effects, contra-indications....yada, yada too and there were days that I said "wait, I am in nursing school, NOT pharmacology school, right?". There was one time that as I was pulling my meds to pass to a pt, the instructor asked me what it was for and it was a BRAND NEW med to me, I had no idea--I told her that, and she handed me my med dictonary and told me I could come back and pass the meds to that pt. when I knew what it was for and it's classification and side effects. I was peeved! Every day, on every med we passed, we had to write out a "med card" with everything to know about that med (including non-formulary name) and hand it in at the start of the next clinical day. I hated it!

    BUT, it was ABSOLUTELY necessary because when you graduate and get a job in a SNF, you are going to be passing medications ALL day, EVERY day. Like 20 pills at a time to some residents and you will have 20-40 residents to pass pills too--I'd hate to not know anything about the meds I'm shoving in their throats. It helps to know they need their pills crushed and the MD just ordered a pill that can't be crushed.

    I loved my insturctor, but I did call her the Medication Drill Sargent because she was hardcore about it I thank her every day that I go to work.
  8. by   Mommyof3Boys
    Thank you so much for your replies. It makes me feel alot better knowing this isnt just fo rnothing and I will use all this eventually! It was dishardening because when I compared my clincical group to my classmates most of them hadn't even done med sheets ( or cards ) yet! So I thought maybe my teacher wa just crazy! lol I feel like we should be paid alot more to know all this pharm. stuff! lol But I guess going through all this muck now will prepare me for the future. Thanks again!
  9. by   iwanna
    Meds are very important and really stressed in clinical groups. I took a refresher course and gave many of the meds in the past. However, I still needed to write what I was giving, the usage, actions of drugs, possible drug interactions, etc. We were quizzed on all of these meds before we passed them. We had a class mix of LPNs and RNs. Even though, we were all nurses, we still had to do the cards like we did in nursing school. So, the meds are very important - ALWAYS!
  10. by   Lorrie34
    Can you imagine what those poor souls in pharmacology school have to go through? The pharmacist on duty is my BFF for 8 hours every shift LOL. I have a friend that is a pharmacist and any time I call him with a random drug question, he has the answer in seconds--I just don't know how 1 brain holds that much info. Bless them all!
  11. by   abbnurse
    When I worked in a LTC facility, I kept one of those "Nursing (whatever year it is)" drug handbooks right on my medcart , for a loooong time! I constantly looked up drugs and found it very helpful. Also, remember that when you've been a nurse for a while, there are a lot of meds that you'll become very familiar with, so it won't all seem so overwhelming. Sounds like your instructor is just trying to give you a good prepration for when you might be passing a couple hundred different meds on the same med pass. Hang in there. It will be so worth it when you graduate! by the way, my fellow nurses and I frequently look up drugs on the various drug websites, and we have about 70 years of nursing experience between all of us. Good luck!
  12. by   Peds_Nurse
    Keep at it, you'll soon see a pattern to the medication classes (antibiotics, heart, BP, etc.) and as you pass meds (the #1 duty we LPNs do), you'll get to know the medication by heart without even trying.

    Consider yourself lucky you have an instructor who understands that medications, MARs, and charting is the primary responsibilities of the LPN and she is teaching you the right way!
  13. by   tainted1972
    During my clinicals if an instructor asked me a question about a medication.. then I better know the answer.. we were always given ample time to look up the meds and make drug cards.. if we didnt know the answer from memory we were allowed to pull out the card and read it.
    In pharm class we had to know everything about every drug we were tested on..
    It sux i know.. but it will help you as a nurse.. As a nurse, I still look up medications