Tips That Will Help You Study Pharmacology in Nursing School

Tips That Will Help You Study Pharmacology in Nursing School

Nursing is undoubtedly one of the most difficult career paths that one can take. It requires us to be able to think on our feet and be responsible for our everyday actions.

Nursing schools ensure the aspiring nurses are well equipped to handle their future responsibilities, working in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. To do that, the nursing schools and the exams are designed to test your knowledge as well as resolve in becoming a nurse practitioner. One of the most daunting subjects that nurses at school feel intimidated by is Pharmacology.

Pharmacology is not for everyone, but it is one of those subjects that nurses have to take up during their nursing degree. You need some study tips to ace your Pharmacology exam.

Finding the right way to study may depend on your personal preferences. Think carefully about how you can design a study plan that works best for you, but, nonetheless, these tips will help you a lot.

Here are the tips that will help you ace pharmacology in nursing school:

Start studying from day one

You should start studying pharmacology from day one of nursing school. Because each subsequent pharmacology lecture builds on the previous one in the program, it’s important to not fall behind by missing a lecture or two here and there.

It’s not just about memorizing the difficult-to-pronounce drug names; it’s also about understanding how medicines work and what their effects are. If you get behind earlier on, it’ll be harder for you to catch up later. Especially, if it’s a postgraduate degree, like masters science nursing, then you need to be extra diligent from the start.

Know your drug classifications

There are different drug classifications that come under the larger Pharmacological umbrella, and you need to know the types of drugs that come under each classification.

Before you start learning about the drugs, their dosages, and uses, make sure that you understand the general classes and categories they fall into. Even if you have a plan to skip some medication types, remember that there is a high chance that you will work in a hospital in which these drugs will be used for treating patients. Pay attention to everything, including the drug names and their trade names, dosages, and side effects.

Learn what each drug does

This tip is especially useful for those who struggle with memorizing all the information. The idea is quite simple: if you know how this or that medication works or is supposed to work, it will be easier for you to guess its class, category, or even name, based off their properties.

Sometimes, determining what type of drug to prescribe or administer is determined by the treatment pursued or the combination of medication chosen.

Get Organized

Having good organizational skills is an important skill to have for any student, but it’s especially important for those studying nursing. You need to keep track of all the class assignments, as well as the test dates and schedules for clinicals.

A calendar or a planner that can help you stay organized can make it less stressful for you to stay on top of everything, so you can focus all of your attention on learning and excelling in your courses.

Attend Class and Take Detailed Notes

The most helpful tips when it comes to studying pharmacology are to not miss any class and to make detailed notes during the lectures. The information you learn during lectures will be easier to digest later when you get back to your notes.

Your instructors could make learning about the drugs fun by adjusting their teaching style a little.

Learn the Drug Names, Classes, Trade Names, and their Formulations

You should know the generic name of the drug and what purpose it serves before studying further about its trade name, class, and formulations. This way, you’ll be able to recall more information about the drug during exam, just by being familiar with some of its properties.

Try a Different Study Style          

Everyone learns at a different pace and in a different way. Some people learn best by reading, while others learn best by listening or watching videos. Regardless, we should try different study styles to find out what suits us best in any given occasion.

Even if you are an avid reader, you cannot always be able to retain the information you read. You have to branch out and try other styles, like maybe watch a video tutorial or have a discussion with a friend about a topic.

Prioritize the Important Information

Pharmacology texts are filled with superfluous details about countless drugs and medicines, but only a small fraction of that information is actually relevant to your nursing career. Your instructors will usually explicitly tell you which sections are important, but it’s also easy to figure out on your own.

Stay on top of your schedule

It is also essential that you stick to your schedule as closely as possible. You may find yourself getting behind on a couple of things from time to time. Overall, you should have goals and to-dos spread throughout the day, week, or even month to help you stay the course. Try keeping track of everything, so that you can be ready for each exam as and when they come around.

Use mnemonic devices or flashcards

Mnemonic devices are great for memorizing drug names and their uses. They are easier to remember and when used effectively, they can help you store and recall a lot more information. Flashcards are also great for memorizing medication names and their uses. Each card acts like a prompt that is used to test your power of recollection in a specific topic.


It all comes down to the level of your preparation in the end. Make sure you are taking the quizzes. Learn to manage your time effectively and learn from mistakes committed at previous clinical assessments. Identify your areas of improvement.