Pharmacology in undergraduate nursing education: Innovative strategies for enhancing medication related knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviours

Cynthia D. Barkhouse-MacKeen, Andrea L. Murphy


Medications are commonly used interventions in healthcare. As our population ages and the prevalence of chronic health challenges increases, medication management has become increasingly complex. Although medication management is a collaborative team effort among health care providers, nurses have a major role in the clinical assessment and monitoring of patients. Nurses are also responsible for medication administration and related drug dosage calculations in the care of patients. There is a growing body of literature that highlights gaps in knowledge and applied skills of nursing students and practicing nurses in pharmacology content and drug dosage calculations.

Teaching pharmacology, drug dosage calculations, and medication administration techniques requires innovative strategies to promote student learning, achievement of outcomes, and life-long learning principles in undergraduate nursing education. We present evidence-informed, innovative strategies and techniques from classroom and Clinical Learning and Simulation Centre experiences that were employed in order to improve student learning and success in an undergraduate pharmacology course. The most notable of course outcomes is that of students’ enhanced abilities to exercise clinical reasoning with regard to application of the medication related knowledge and skills.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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