Learning Your Drugs

Students General Students


Does anyone have suggestions on "How" to learn and retain drug information. I think we have about 25 of them to learn. I really don't know "what" to learn. Much less trying to memorize it all....

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!



258 Posts

Boy- I had a heck of a time learning meds. In school-we were required to know the names (brand and generic), classes, actions, interactions and adverse reactions (Bold and itialized-common and life-threatening in the drug books). We were grilled constantly, as a group and individually. Insulins we had to know the color (clear or cloudy), the onset, peak and duration, and how given in realtion to meals.

I don't know any good tricks. I would try to piece it all together so that one thing flowed into another. You have to just memorize them I guess. Find whatever works best for you. Good luck!

gwenith, BSN, RN

3,755 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

Learn your classes of drugs first. (oops just realised can't give you examples as some of our drug names are different) but learn the drugs that have a common action i.e. anxiolytics and then a group within that i.e. those ending with "azepam" i.e. diazepam etc

Then learn the individual differnces this allows the brain to "group" things and makes it easier.


738 Posts

It helped me to make a paper grid. If I was studying respiratory drugs, for example. Put the name of the drug on the side and at the top, the actions, cautions, side effects etc... Then fill in the blanks.

When that is all done you can actually look at the drugs and see what is different. This is what I tried to memorize. It worked out OK.

Good luck to you!



1,326 Posts

I wish I could give you more help but the only thing I can think to suggest is breaking it down over a couple days, ie. learn 5 or so each day.


143 Posts

Thanks you guys!! I'll give it one heck of a try!!


70 Posts

What has helped me in Paramedic school and now in nursing school is Flash Cards Flash Cards Flash Cards. Make alot of them so that way you are able to quiz yourself on them. Put just one or two things on each. I know it makes alot of cards, but it is well worth it. I divided mine into Names and Classifications, Dosages, Side Effects, etc... and would go over each division separtely. Hope this helps :)


Specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

I'm doing a binder of the ones i'm running across.

It'll be easy to do this because i already have to do research on every single type of drug the patient we care for is taking, so i'll just copy that for my binder (typing of course!). I'll use dividers for the classifications.

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