Which drugs to learn/memorize?

  1. I'm starting nursing school on september 15th (eeek!) and I was thinking of getting a head start on learning/memorizing some of the drugs (since I've heard this is very overwhelming and time consuming). Where should I start? The drug books are huge! Are there some that are harder to remember or used so frequently that I should start now? I know this is a pretty broad question, but I ask because it feels like a very broad task...

    Should I even start doing this now or should I just wait until school starts? If I don't do this, is there anything else anyone could recommend for me to get started on? I always feel less anxious about school if I'm a little bit prepared. Thanks,

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    About Icess64

    Joined: Dec '03; Posts: 58; Likes: 10
    Specialty: Medical Telemetry


  3. by   sweet tooth
    You could always email the instructor and get their recommendations. My program gave us a summer reading list which includes Math for Meds, Med. Terminology and a nutrition book. I would say you probably have somewhat of a headstart since you are a CNA. Good luck in school.
  4. by   EricJRN

    Might be a little early to start worrying, but when you do start attacking the drugs, learn them by class rather than individual drug. Then all you'll have to remember is the general principles for each class and the few exceptions to those principles within them.
  5. by   Dratz
    I have to agree with Eric:

    Drugs are mind boggling .....I would wait until you are asked to look at drugs. First year is a lot of learning the basics and Fundamentals. We did not even look at a drug or name of a drug until we did our Long Term Care clinical. I am heading into second year and am just now am finally beginning to figure out how to remember my drugs.

    LOL......wherever did you find your avatar?
  6. by   Lisa CCU RN
    Quote from EricEnfermero

    Might be a little early to start worrying, but when you do start attacking the drugs, learn them by class rather than individual drug. Then all you'll have to remember is the general principles for each class and the few exceptions to those principles within them.
  7. by   Icess64
    Quote from Dratz

    LOL......wherever did you find your avatar?
    he he, oh yeah that...I think I got it off of the avatarist.com under the funny catagory. I'm just a goof at heart, so I must display it at every appropriate opportunity!:smiley_ab
  8. by   Daytonite
    megan. . .well, first of all, everyone else who posted is right. it's probably a little too early for you to start working on drug cards. there's too much you don't know about looking up about them yet. however, if you must. . .and i understand that some have that burning need to know, i would start with the drugs you know. yes, the common stuff you use everyday: aspirin, tylenol, motrin, mylanta, the cough syrups, etc. you might also want to look up the different insulins and diabetic medications as well as commonly prescribed antibiotics. http://www.rxlist.com/ has a link for the "top 300 drugs of 2005 by prescriptions dispensed". http://www.drugs.com/ has a link to the "to 200 drugs by sales". check sites like walgreens and cvs pharmacy for lists of top selling drugs as well. you are bound to eventually run into patients taking these drugs. i've given you a link i have for a medication card generator. it helps you format medication cards. you, however, have to input the information. it will give you a good idea of what kind of information you need to be looking for on each drug--and there's a lot of it. to find information on drugs you can use the two sites i've listed above. use your free time to learn how to navigate around their sites. also medline plus has consumer information on drugs as well as most of the online commercial pharmacies. i happen to like drugs.com because you can access some pdr (physician's desk reference) drug monographs on their site although not all. if you can find some kind healthcare agency that will give you an old pdr, grab it and say thank you. that should keep you busy for a few weeks.

    http://www.edruginfo.com/qthome.htm - e-druginfo.com's gateway page into medi-quik construct-a-card. you need to register, but it's free. you have to input all the information yourself. this constructor merely prints it onto a pre-formatted form. in playing around with the constructor i found that you could not go back otherwise you lost your input data. i was able to shrink the finished card down to about 7" x 5" but my printer didn't print any border, or perhaps i just didn't know how to apply a border or shrink the card down smaller.

    http://www.globalrph.com/ - just thought i'd add this one for you. it has drug listings, instructions for iv dilutions in mixing piggyback meds, you can search for specific drugs (uses rxlist.com), or chose the drug table button to get lists of medications arranged by categories. clicking on the infectious disease button takes you to an infectious disease database arranged by disease which give you listings of antibiotic choices that can be used for treatment. there are a number of medical calculators here including one to calculate drip rates on some of the commonly used icu medications. there are also links to a video library.

    http://www.drugstore.com/pharmacy/drugchecker/ - definitely bookmark this site. it will allow you to input multiple drugs and will give you back any interactions between them--something you might need to know and a common section on med cards.
  9. by   shellsgogreen
    It is hard knowing which ones to memorize in the beginning, especially when there is so many other new things to overwhelm you!
    I agree with what was said previously, especially considering each school probably has its own particular list...my only extra suggestion is that you get some index cards and carry them around with you EVERYWHERE! as it's not just the names you need to know, but side effects, actions and all that sort of thing....I made cards and posted them up around my house to drill myself...heh.....

    Good luck with it all, sounds like you're on an organized track!
  10. by   NaomieRN
    Icess, I am starting nursing school on September 5. I have been focusing on the nursing processes, conversion factors (mg, g, kg, oz, tsp, tb, ml, cc) and watching some videos at my school. I am sure your school may have educational videos call CAIs about medications administration, communication, nursing processes, and critical thinking. I have watched almost all of them at least twice except for one about pain management. I really enjoyed watching the videos. So far they have helped me tremendously. If I were you, I would wait until school starts to see what drugs you should memorize. I think if you have the fundamental nursing book, you can go over the nursing processes just to get some understandings. I feel very fortunate that I already have the syllabus for the fall.
    Last edit by NaomieRN on Aug 12, '06
  11. by   nursinginstructordmy
    Well, I come from a different part than most of you....I am an LPN nursing instructor. I believe that the best time to start introducing the drugs is when you are studying topics that relate to that drug. for example if you are studying vital signs....Digoxin is a drug I teach then.....It slows the pulse as a side effect .....and you need to take an apical pulse before giving it......so why not learn it....it is a basic....The same with aspirins and temperature. A good site with flash cards for drugs that apply to various topics is http://freenursetutor.com
    Lots of stuff.....try the flashcards..Match games accompany them so you can try out your knowledge. Have fun