How to Study Pharmacology

As noble as the profession is of being a nurse, the process of becoming one isn’t a cakewalk. A subject as critical as pharmacology is dreadful enough to steal your night’s sleep. Every nursing student will agree on how daunting it is to study pharmacology

Being one of the most mundane and yet terrifying subjects, pharmacology is a crucial subject that needs to be fresh in your mind throughout your nursing career. 

As a nursing student, you need to know everything from studying the mechanism and action of innumerable drugs to learning in-depth about drug interactions, routes of administration, and contraindications. 

We know the pain and effort that a dedicated nursing student has to put in to learn and memorize such a notoriously difficult subject, and it is only natural to feel overwhelmed, given the vastness of the syllabus. 

If your dream is to become a great nurse, then it is imperative for you first to understand how to study pharmacology. You will no longer find yourself stuck in this journey since you have arrived at the right place. This article is dedicated to helping you identify the intricacies of this subject and make you understand how to study pharmacology in nursing school

What is pharmacology?

Pharmacology is the study of drugs and their effects on the human body. It is the study dedicated to understanding how drugs interact with our bodies and also how our body responds to those administered drugs. 

Pharmacology lies at the heart of biomedical science and bridges human physiology, chemistry, and pathology. It is the subject that is responsible for making the nerve-blocking painkillers to the bacteria-killer antibiotics.

Addressing the problems

Before we delve into the strategies to help you eradicate the query “Is pharmacology hard“, let us first address the common problems that most nursing students face. 

Some of the universally complained problems are as follows:

  • Trying to memorize everything
  • Not being able to develop a proper study method for the subject
  • Not being able to differentiate essential and non-essential study materials
  • Trying to cram before the exams

Do any of these problems mentioned above ring a bell to you? If it does, then you were studying pharmacology the wrong way. It is no wonder many nurses have phrases like “pharmacology is hard” in the back of their minds the whole time.

Remember that “Every dark cloud has a silver lining”, you must not lose hope since all is not lost yet. You still have a long way to go! All you need is is to adopt the right strategy, and it won’t be long before you see an exponential rise in your grades in your upcoming pharmacology exams. Read on to find the most effective ways to study this critical subject.

How to Study Pharmacology

Pharmacology is a vital subject that demands to be studied with a de-stressed mind and full concentration. To achieve that, you need to understand the concepts of drug mechanisms, starting from their molecular structure until the impact it has on the body after it has been administered.

Instead of trying to memorize every word of your big fat pharmacology book, you should focus more on understanding and learning the concepts. It has been scientifically proven that the fastest way to transfer information from your short-term memory to long-term memory is by understanding the concepts rather than relying on rote memorization. The more you emphasize learning the concepts and revising them, the better neuronal connections will be developed in your brain. Medication cards are often helpful for learning concepts.

The 3R studying technique is crucially imperative for you to apply while studying a subject as intimidating as pharmacology. 3R denotes – Read, recall, and revise. Revision is the key! 

Effective ways to make studying pharmacology less daunting

Apart from the main fundamental theory of studying, as discussed above, here are some pharmacology tips to help you pass the NCLEX.

Begin by organizing

At first, you need to get organized. Remember how they say that to eat an elephant, you need to take one bite at a time? Similarly, to conquer a humongous subject, you first need to break it down into small pieces in an organized manner. Never try to learn everything in one go, lest you want to give a big blow to your self-confidence. 

It is recommended that you begin by organizing different sets of drugs and divide them on a class-by-class manner. First, pick up only the important core details of a chapter, and once your brain has done processing the core information, then begin accumulating those that hold less importance.

Concepts interlinking

We cannot possibly stretch the importance of interlinking the concepts while you study anymore. To have a thorough understanding of each drug mechanism, route of administration, metabolism, and side effects, it is crucially imperative for you to get your concepts clear rather than trying to rote learning everything.

Start making flash cards

Do not underestimate the power of flashcards while studying pharmacology. Even a Pharmacology Study Guide for Nursing Students can help. Along with conceptualizing the various topics, you also need to remember the drugs’ names, dosage, types, indications, as well as contraindications. You should note down these specifics on the flashcards and carry them along with you. 

Wherever you go, whatever you do, always keep these flashcards with you!

Create mnemonics

The daunting nature of pharmacology can be tackled easily with this wondrous tool called mnemonics. The theory of mnemonics goes by – the crazier the mnemonic, the better you will be able to remember. Let us give you a small example that will help you to gauge the power of nursing mnemonics.

  • To memorize: Drugs used in Gestational Hypertension

Mnemonic used: LAME AND LAZY

How: LALabetalol, ME Methyldopa, ND Nifedipine, LAZ – Hydralazine

In a nutshell

You already know the importance of pharmacology in your course of study, and hence, it does not require any separate mention. Our main purpose of writing this article on “How to study pharmacology,” was to make you aware that, learning a subject as notoriously difficult as pharmacology can also be fun, provided you do it the right way. 

Always remember to break the big elephant into tiny edible pieces and then learn them bit by bit. By following the key techniques and fundamentals discussed in this article, you will gain an edge from your fellow classmates in your upcoming pharmacology exams. 

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