I'm giving meds and NEVER took a pharm class!!

  1. I'm in my 2nd semester of a 4 semester program and passing meds....one BIG problem, I NEVER took a pharmacology class. My teacher is a drill sargeant and expects us to know EVERYTHING before we give any medications to our patients, and I have no problem with that, but I don't know any meds. Does anyone know any good resources, I have the Davis Drug Guide, but when I have 3 patients and they all have meds it takes too long.
    Thanks....
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    Joined: Oct '06; Posts: 6

    21 Comments

  3. by   Tweety
    No matter what guide you use, you're going to have to stop and look up each and everyone of them. I think Davis Drug guide is fine.

    Many programs don't have a separate pharm class. It's built into the ciriculim and you learn as you go.

    Good luck!
  4. by   RN BSN 2009
    Well, we have pharm and we're not passing meds yet... Argh!
  5. by   catlover13
    I don't know how your class schedule is structured, but it sounds like you've missed out on an important piece that you need for this clinical.

    Talk to your clinical instructor, preferably outside of clinical times. Explain your problem, and also that you are seeking a solution for this problem.

    At one of our clinical sites, we could go on floor, but not interact with any patients before or after our clinical times. Perhaps you could go early to clinical, many instructors are there preparing for the clinical. If you could access your patients for the shift, you would be able to look up your meds ahead of time. That way you'd be prepared to pass your meds.

    I used a palm t/x with epocrates software to look up all my meds. I found it more up to date, and faster than thumbing through med books. At the beginning of each clinical, I'd look up and write down the pertinent information on all the drugs that I would be passing. That's just what worked for me.

    Hope this helps,

    Lynn
  6. by   BoonersmomRN
    My program doesn't have a seperate pharm class...like Tweety said it's built into whatever lecture we are doing. When I go to clinical...and we are NOT allowed to go early/night before....I get my patient info and I have to look up all the drugs they are on. I am expected to know what it is for, what, if anything, I need to check before I give it, what the normal dose is, what it's contraindicated with, and what possible SE's there are. Also, any teaching that needs to be done.

    It's a lot but that's the way it's been ever since I was done Fundamentals. Im now in semester 3/4.
  7. by   amyk_ncsu
    We had three or so days lecture on pharm stuff, but we dont know all of the specifics of each class of drugs before we are eligible to pass them. That stuff is on the 2nd test (this Fri), but most people have already passed meds. We go up to the floor the day before and look up everythign we need from the chart and then go home and look up all the meds. We have to know everything about them before passing them, and have to pass a medication competency test before passing meds (like how to mix insulins, which syringes/needles to use, IM sites, etc). But in answer to your problem, no we didn't have a specific class that taught us pharmacology before hand either. Good luck!
  8. by   carolinapooh
    Quote from catlover13
    I don't know how your class schedule is structured, but it sounds like you've missed out on an important piece that you need for this clinical.

    Talk to your clinical instructor, preferably outside of clinical times. Explain your problem, and also that you are seeking a solution for this problem.

    At one of our clinical sites, we could go on floor, but not interact with any patients before or after our clinical times. Perhaps you could go early to clinical, many instructors are there preparing for the clinical. If you could access your patients for the shift, you would be able to look up your meds ahead of time. That way you'd be prepared to pass your meds.

    I used a palm t/x with epocrates software to look up all my meds. I found it more up to date, and faster than thumbing through med books. At the beginning of each clinical, I'd look up and write down the pertinent information on all the drugs that I would be passing. That's just what worked for me.

    Hope this helps,

    Lynn

    I wouldn't say she's missing out on something. I'm passing meds and I'm currently in Pharm. At this point in the semester, there are quite a few meds that I've given that I haven't studied yet; but I have, of course, looked them all up. This is a great opportunity to use both clinical thinking skills AND critical thinking skills, and, as always, your instructor is a fantastic resource.

    As for a solution, you can go to a Barnes and Noble, grab a coffee, and read over a reliable resource. I would recommend PHARMACOLOGY MADE INCREDIBLY EASY.

    I totally agree with the Palm or a PocketPC. We had to buy one for my program and I'm now addicted to it. If you don't have that, I would suggest taking little notecards or a pocket notebook on the floor with you, and using the drug guide on the floor or that you bring with you to write down the drug, dose, schedule, and the why of why it's being given. Devote a page or a card to each drug, and collect them over time. Eventually, you'll have yourself a little drug guide of your own. If I didn't have a PDA, that is what I would do, because when I look up stuff I remember it better if I do it myself.

    So to the OP - don't worry - you'll be fine, what you don't understand ASK about first, and think of how prepared you'll be once Pharm starts for you.
  9. by   Danish
    We have to pass our Pharm exam before we can pass meds. Even insulin!
  10. by   future L&Dnurse
    I had pharm but we were not required to memorize meds. I have a PDA and have downloaded Nursing Central onto it, which includes a lab guide and a drug guide. The drug guide comes in very handy.

    It also helps that my instructor would strongly prefer that we stop and look up a med, rather than just guess at what it's for if we don't know. I am not sure how I would handle things if I had an instructor who just expected me to KNOW every med out there.
  11. by   southernatheart
    I look at it this way..it is your responsibility to know all the meds before you give them. Will you know all of them from memory? Nope. But you will, after a while, become familiar with the common ones. Know their method of action, therapeutic effects, side effects, and in the case of iv/im etc, know how fast to give them. One thing you'll NEVER forget is to take an apical pulse before giving dig!! LOL
  12. by   burn out
    I am shocked. I can not believe that there are nursings schools out there that do not offer pharmacology courses. No wonder there are patients that receive 8 grams of dilantin.
  13. by   marilynmom
    I'm a little shocked at some schools not even offering a basic pharm class...what does that say about nursing as a profession?

    We learn drugs in each of our classess as we go along (Med/Surg, Psych, OB, etc) but we also have a 4 credit hour pharm class our junior year in my BSN program. There is no way to possibly cover every single med in class, because new ones are always coming out. When a new med comes out (a big one) we usually have a pharm rep or a pharmacist come and talk to us at school and give us handouts, etc about it so we can kinda keep up with the newer meds which I think is cool.
  14. by   lil-hosp.usa
    I used a flash card format that when I looked up my meds I would gather the flash cards that I needed for each pt. My instructor was kind enough to let us look them up because if you don't know that is what you do!! After time you will know alot of them by heart but on a daily basis you continue to look things up. That is the best thing about nursing, always learning new things.... Besides taking care of the patients.

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