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What goes On in Pharmacology


i start this class next week, can anyone give me the headsup? is there anything i can be going over now to help me? ;)


Specializes in NICU.

Yes! You can start going over conversions to the metric system and symbols used in pharm (these should be in your textbook). Learn how to convert ounces to cc to drams to minims, etc. Memorize the formula you'll start with: Desired/Have x Volume. Or, if you are better with ratio and proportion, study that a little to brush up on it.

We didn't do these conversions in Pharm -- we learned all the conversions, symbols, etc. in our nursing courses. In Pharm, it was about the drugs. Do you have a good drug guide? Davis Drug Guide for Nurses is good.

I'm trying to think what you can do to prepare but there isn't a lot, short of reading the text. Review your A&P and patho, particularly neurotransmitters and neurotransmitter receptors on cells -- because understanding Pharm has a lot to do with understanding what receptors the drug agonizes or antagonizes. It might be helpful to look up common drugs: Coumadin, Valium, Pepcid, etc. and learn the generic names so you can be fluent in generic and brand names interchangably. We were always tested using generic names but - in the real world - I find that they use the brand name a LOT for the more commonly used drugs.

Now is a good time to become familiar with the drug guide book itself. Really study the section that tells how to use the guide. It will make you life much easier if you understand what the capitalized, underlined info means. Everything listed about a drug you will use at some point. Pick a med you might be familiar with, even if it is Tylenol or aspirin (do you know what ASA is?) and look it up and read all the info. Becoming familiar with the guide will make be a big help to you just starting out. Look in the appendix's to see what info is there. One item I found was lab values for different tests (serum) that you will need to be familiar with throughout your program. And something I got stumped on when at hospital clinicals--some drugs are combination drugs that have a separate section in the book and are not covered in the index for some reason. Look it over in case you happen upon one in your school experience.

Study the nervous system. The peripheral and central and their components. The drugs that are in them (adrenergic, cholinergic) and what they do. I have a test over that the week after next and am already freaked out.

Jennerizer, ASN, RN

Specializes in PCU, Critical Care, Observation. Has 13 years experience.

Our instructor is having us write out the drugs that our patients have each week on index cards in order to get us more familiar with the drugs. Then when we pull the drugs, she asks us what each one is for. If we aren't positive, we have the index cards in our pocket & can quickly take a look. It's a lot of work to write them out, but I can see how it is helpful. Especially when it comes to test time....it's a lot easier to study index cards than the Davis Drug Guide.


Specializes in ICU, psych, corrections. Has 8 years experience.

I'm so thankful that our A & P professor prepared us for this kind of stuff. All through the semester, he would give us drug cards to do. We had an average of 5-8 due per week. This introduced us to a lot of common drugs as well as becoming familar with the drug guide books out there. I just bought a Palm Pilot and have a terrific program on there for drugs so I don't use my book anymore. Pharmacology is turning out to be a bit easier than I thought but I think it's because it's a class I really, really enjoy. It's very interesting to me and I don't mind studying for that class. It's my Assessment class I detest!!!

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