Just started working for the first time.



I just began my job this week as an LPN. I've been feeling very stressed and overwhelmed. I was wondering, how do I learn so many medications in so little time? Or just where do I start to learn in general? I've just been staring at this list I wrote, trying to figure out how I'm going to learn them all.

Do you guys just look them up as you go? Any tips and advise on anything would be very helpful!

Thank you!

Specializes in Critical Care, Med-Surg, Psych, Geri, LTC, Tele,.

For me, in school I knew I'd be working in skilled, so I knew when we did rotations to focus on the drugs most commonly used in skilled. Therefore, I'd suggest getting a list of common meds and start there. BP meds, anti arrhythmics, stool softeners, thyroid meds, common narcs for pain, non-opioid analgesics, etc. Remember that learning suffixes will tell you the basic med class--but not always the indication.

My first job was in a dementia unit so I did have to familiarize myself with a few addtl meds used there-- depakote was one.

My 2nd job was in psych LTC. I started not really knowing meds. But our mars give the indication/diagnosis.

I spent some time trying to learn the major drug classes in my current specialty. Anti-psychotics vs anxiolytics vs antidepressants. But, yes, over time, it began to come together. It just took a few months.

I do still have to look up meds sometimes, such as when my pt was prescribed to get ophthalmic atropine orally in water for sialorrhea yesterday. The only thing I knew is that atropine was a drying agent.

I do keep a drug book in the med room. Drugs.com and google are your friends!!.


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Specializes in Ambulatory, Corrections, SNF, LTC, Rehab. Has 6 years experience.

I learn my meds by studying all the meds of my patients, like I will make sure I will know at least their drug clasification. Then at home I will study what's that for. I know we are not superhero to know everything but maybe bringing drug hand book in your med cart will not hurt you as a nurse. And always stay focus and read the labels as well. I know it's very overwhelming for you coz it is your first job, but try to give it time and work positively. I know you can do it coz you finish and passed your boards. :)