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How do you study medications?

Posted

Has <1 years experience.

Ok so what I do currently, is study medications by writing them repeatedly. I'm in my first semester of nursing school and it's difficult. I'm barely passing.

But they told us to study by the class. Well, which one? Their therapeutic class or pharmacological class?

For example, I listed glucagon and insulin-regular as well as insulin-NPH because the medication cards my professor gave us, it lists therapeutic class as: "anti diabetic, hormones" for the 2 insulins.

But when comparing glucagon and the 2 insulins, their side effects and dosages and indications and actions are completely different! I'm so confused and it's irritating me.

And it takes about 20-30min for me to learn 1 medication and it's side effects, dosages, nursing considerations, etc. after a while, I forget the nursing considerations because it's so ******* much. But I remember everything else about the meds. I've only been able to learn 3 meds out of 17 and it's been 8 weeks now and our class is only 8 weeks, then we begin clinicals.

They usually put 2-3 meds on each exam. Week 1 was 4 meds to study, week 2 the next 4 meds, and then when our first exam came, they said there will be questions on meds from week 1-3 on the cards. But really there was only 1 question on our first exam. It was over aspirin and ibuprofen..

I want to be able to know the meds but it's hard studying them when we are rushing through the class because every 3 days, we have a new PowerPoint packet to study for and they're 96 slides each. Everyone is barely passing.

So how do you study for meds???

Ok so what I do currently, is study medications by writing them repeatedly. I'm in my first semester of nursing school and it's difficult. I'm barely passing.

But they told us to study by the class. Well, which one? Their therapeutic class or pharmacological class?

For example, I listed glucagon and insulin-regular as well as insulin-NPH because the medication cards my professor gave us, it lists therapeutic class as: "anti diabetic, hormones" for the 2 insulins.

But when comparing glucagon and the 2 insulins, their side effects and dosages and indications and actions are completely different! I'm so confused and it's irritating me.

And it takes about 20-30min for me to learn 1 medication and it's side effects, dosages, nursing considerations, etc. after a while, I forget the nursing considerations because it's so ******* much. But I remember everything else about the meds. I've only been able to learn 3 meds out of 17 and it's been 8 weeks now and our class is only 8 weeks, then we begin clinicals.

They usually put 2-3 meds on each exam. Week 1 was 4 meds to study, week 2 the next 4 meds, and then when our first exam came, they said there will be questions on meds from week 1-3 on the cards. But really there was only 1 question on our first exam. It was over aspirin and ibuprofen..

I want to be able to know the meds but it's hard studying them when we are rushing through the class because every 3 days, we have a new PowerPoint packet to study for and they're 96 slides each. Everyone is barely passing.

So how do you study for meds???

Try index cards

The way you write down facts and also have them to quiz yourself or have somebody quiz you.

I did index cards but didn't really learn them until I started actually giving them in clinicals/lab.

Are you in an accelerated program?

joanna73, BSN, RN

Specializes in geriatrics.

The easiest way to learn medications is by class: ex:

Antihypertensives

Bronchodilators

NSAIDS

Opiods

Antifungals

Antidiabetics

Neuroleptics

Antidepressants

Depends on the drug guide you are more familiar with, but understanding the various medication classes is much easier than trying to learn individual medications.

Using index cards and making notes is very helpful.

calivianya, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

I used flashcardmachine.com a ton. I would sometimes make questions instead of taking traditional notes. I would listen to what my instructor was saying, and formulate a question/answer based on what was just said and immediately enter it into the site. The quick editor is very easy to use. I find flash cards the easiest way to learn a bunch of facts quickly, and you don't have to worry about losing flash cards if they're online.

Flash cards work best for me with tiny pieces of information instead of a large wall of text. I might write ten or more flash cards for one medication. For example, take regular insulin. My flashcards might look something like: Regular insulin - therapeutic class? Regular insulin - pharmacologic class? Regular insulin - onset time? Regular insulin - peak time? Regular insulin - side effects? Regular insulin - brand names? Regular insulin - dosage? Regular insulin - routes of administration? Regular insulin - contraindications? etc.

Edited by calivianya

Forget about learning each and every drug as an individual drug, you'll get nowhere. Instead, understand the different classes of drugs, as majority of the time, most drugs in the same class will have similar mechanism of action/side effects/considerations (with some exceptions, of course).

If you're working in a medical ward, you're likely to see a lot of the 'ABCD' drugs, which are:

ACE inhibitors

Beta Blockers

Calcium-Channel Blockers

Diuretics

And then, as someone else said, other classes, such as:

Opioids

NSAIDs

Antibiotics

Antidepressants

etc etc

Learn the mechanism of action of each class of drugs, and look up which drugs fall into each class. Doing it this way will definitely help in clinicals.

LadyFree28, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma. Has 10 years experience.

Re writing the meds will not get you nowhere; used flash cards as people have suggested, as well as get a pharmacology review book with NCLEX-style questions; you need to know the classes of medications as outlined in your book, and then apply the knowledge for your tests.

There are great review books out there with NCLEX-style questions that can help you apply what you have learned; also reach out to the instructor to help with strategies to know and apply the knowledge to your tests.

Best wishes.