Monday, June 20, 2011

Happiness is Getting Your First Nursing Book!

I'll admit it....I'm a planner. I hate last minute ANYTHING. Am I a control freak? No, I'm thinking I'm not. Most control freaks like to control EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY. I am way too flawed for that. But, being that everything hinges on Pharmacology in nursing school, I felt the need to investigate the HOW. How do you "study" ahead for a course you haven't had yet and will determine whether or not you have the moxie to see it through the end? Here's what I've discovered, anyway, on how to study for Pharm:
1. Learn starting from category of drugs. (Seems logical)
a. side effects
b. toxicity
c. action
d. contra
e. endings names of drugs

2. Mnemonics is a good way to study, too. I found a cool site to start with: Medical Mnemonics.

3. I have found that doing a simple search on Google can be a great asset. Apparently, real teachers don't care who they teach as long as someone out there learns. You can find Power Points for lectures on any subject under the sun. And teachers love to have students learn at home, so do some research. If you want to dig into Pharmacology, this teacher, Jerry Carley, RN, MSN, MA, CNE, has this great nursing info site, including pharm. Click on his name and check it out. He's brilliant!

4. is a great tool to find tips on how to study pharm, vent or just about anything else nurse related.

5. Networking. Don't underestimate the power of networking. I have found that most people have knowledge and experience that they are willing to share if you just ask. This past semester, I became friends with the most wonderful lady who just happened to be an LPN. (She had to take A & P again because of a technicality) And she was a wealth of information and mostly, inspiration. She made me believe I had a shot at being a nurse. I will forever be grateful to her. We studied our hearts out for that demanding class. A study partner is going to be your ACE in the hole.


  1. Hi Beth,

    I am a midlife nursing student also and I just wrote a blog entry on studying pharmacology this summer. You might want to check it out at

    I like your tips on studying pharmacology and will definitely be looking at the sites you recommended in more depth. Here are a few tips for you. Just learn the generic names. All medications are labeled with the generic names. They may or may not have a trade name and there are way too many to remember anyway. Learn the drug classes. Study all the drug classes that affect a certain system, say the cardiac system. Focus on learning their mechanism of action.

    I just added your blog as a link on my site. Good luck to you as you prepare for nursing school.


  2. I just finished my first semester of nursing including Pharmacology and Jen is right, make sure you know the generic names and their mechanism of action. Thanks for the websites, I'll be looking at those for further help.

    I was advised to get connected with a stronger study buddy because I'm told next semester will be much harder than the first.

    Good luck to you.

  3. Hi Beth,
    Thanks so much for mentioning my website(s)! It is a true labor of love, free for all, and I am always looking for new ways to help nursing students learn what they need to know. Be watching for improvements on the Pharmacology & Physical Assessment sub-sites, since I am heavily involved in those courses during the next few months. Thanks again, and good luck in your studies.

    Jerry Carley, MSN,MA,RN,CNE
    Assistant Professor of Nursing
    Roseman University of Health Sciences
    South Jordan, Utah