New at leading medication group on CD Unit


Hi, I have been working on a CD unit for the past 2 years. Well, I was just told that I'm going to start having to do a group with the patients on medication. We have dual diagosis patients there. To tell you the truth I don't know all the things that I should as a nurse know. I still can't figure out how I passed the boards. Does anyone have any resources that they could share with me? I just don't want to look like a complete idiot in front of my patients.

Thanks for any help,


Mr Ian

340 Posts

Specializes in mental health; hangover remedies. Has 15 years experience.

Well again I'd love to help - but what is a CD unit?

All I could find was Communicable Diseases.

Whispera, MSN, RN

3,458 Posts

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

I have an objection to having a GROUP for medications if it shares what each person is prescribed, since that's personal and some people don't want everyone else to know, AND hearing about everyone else's medication can be boring if one isn't taking the same thing. I prefer to do medication education on a 1:1 basis, and do that during group time and outside of it. I imagine it's a policy that patients must be informed about their meds, and a group is one way to do it.

But, I are some random thoughts...

--Ask them what they'd like to know.

--Take the medication administration book to the group and even take copies of their own MAR for each person (make sure this is ok according to the boss). Then ask if they have questions.

--They probably won't. It's likely many won't even know what they've been prescribed.

--Think in terms of categories of drugs that are being prescribed....benzos, antidepression meds--what they do, how they work in the body. Depression often goes hand in hand with chemical dependency. I'd bet money lots of your patients are on antidepression medications.

--Discuss the reasons some of them are being given vitamins and minerals

--Give handouts about their medications, give time to read them, and then ask if there are questions (this assumes all can read and are in a condition where reading would work)

--discuss how the drugs they took that brought them to you have altered their minds and bodies (alcohol, opiates, benzos, cocaine, meth, etc.). Your unit might even have a movie

--talk about smoking


14,633 Posts

I agree that there are confidentiality/HIPPA issues with doing a medication education group unless it's handled in a very broad, general way -- you cannot disclose which medications individuals are on to other members of the group without their consent. Of course, if they choose to ask a question which reveals something personal about their medications or medical history, that is their choice to make.

However, it's always "safe" to talk about groups/categories of meds, or the specific medications that are most commonly used on the unit if you don't identify which clients are or aren't taking them. One place to start could be the printed client education material (about specific medications) that is available from lots of sources, inc. your hospital pharmacy. Another topic that is frequently useful is talking generally about why it's important to take any meds as prescribed, inform providers of all the meds you're on, be aware of interactions with herbs/supplements, etc. Also, the drug companies have videos about many of the common/popular psych disorders, emphasizing (that company's) applicable medications, that are intended for client education (of course, these videos are basically sales pitches and strongly emphasize the positive aspects of the drug while glossing over the negatives ...) They typically give these videos away for free to professionals/facilities. Those could also be useful as discussion-starters, since psych comorbidity is so common in CD populations.


541 Posts

Has 5 years experience.
Well again I'd love to help - but what is a CD unit?

All I could find was Communicable Diseases.

CD stands for chemical dependency.


861 Posts

Specializes in telemetry, med-surg, home health, psych.

we do med ed groups also......take your med book in with you and any handouts you may have on the unit....discussion is usually about the side effects of the most popular detox meds....they usually have plenty of questions..if it is something you are unable to answer, instruct them to write it down and ask their doctor when they see him/her...


75 Posts

Specializes in,mental health,geriatrics. Has 25 years experience.

I did med ed groups on adult psych. I didn't ever identify what drugs anyone was on. Sometimes they brought it up themselves in discussion, but that was their choice. One of my favorite ways to do it, and one the patients seemed to engage well in, was to do something like this on a dry erase board:


and then list several examples under each heading. Then we'd talk about what made one kind of medication different from another; side effects; a little bit about how they work; odds and ends about any specific meds; and so forth. As well as to include a discussion about compliance, safety issues, etc. It may sound kind of boring but it usually got a pretty good discussion going, and patients asked a lot of questions. I kept a med book handy in case I needed to look something up for someone.


412 Posts

Specializes in ..

Maybe have a flip through the medication charts to see what medications are relavent to your patients and do some reading up on those specific drugs, as it's likely that at least one or two patients will ask a question about their specific medication.

I second the concept of going by drug categories.

- Anti-depressants (remembering that there are classes of these in themselves - SSRIS, SNRIs, Tricyclics, MAOIs, NRIS, NRDIs, NaSSAs. You'll find that most of your patients will have tried one or more drugs from a couple of categories, or be taking different drugs from different categories at once.) With anti-depressants, also keep in mind the Augmenter drugs that may have been prescribed to improve the effect of the previous.

- Anti-psychotics (typical and atypical - though you'll find that most of your patients using these drugs will be on the new atypicals, Seroquel, Zyprexa, Risperadel etc)

- Mood-stabilisers (anti-convulsant drugs like carbmazapine, epilum, trileptal and lamitcal) and others (like lithium)

- Anti-anxiety agents. I guess here you could bring in the cross-over use of low-dose anti-psychotics such as Seroquel and Zyprexa for PRN anxiety management as well as their long-term use for mood management etc. Also, your classic benzos etcetc

- Sleep aids. I'd take this opportunity to sing the benefits of natural sleep remedies as well as prescription drugs for sleep as so many patients get hooked up onto Stilnox, tmaz and even their anti-psychotics for sleep long term, instead of eventually learning to find their own sleep rhythms. Things like Metatolin, relaxation and mediation etcetc

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