A Beginner’s Guide to Pharmacology

I have received several requests regarding how to learn pharmacology content. You asked, now I’ll answer…to the best of my ability.

Here are the basics to get you off to a great start in your pharmacology course:

1. This course is largely memorization, which could be good news for us nursing students who struggle with choosing the most correct answer out of other correct answers. For the most part, pharmacology is straight-forward, and flashcards work great for this kind of learning. On the flip-side, know that you will never be able to remember every detail about every drug. And that is okay!

2. Know your A & P. A good understanding of A & P is crucial to understanding how the medications work! This makes it much easier to remember how the medication might affect body systems and what adverse reactions or side effects you might see in your patient.

3. Separate into classifications and keep your focus there. Do not memorize individual drugs! Memorize the classes of drugs. And suffixes! Also, a little birdie told me that the proprietary names of drugs will no longer be provided on the NCLEX. This still doesn’t mean that you need to memorize each generic name, but it does increase the importance of memorizing suffixes. By the way, my favorite suffix is “lol” for obvious reasons.


4. This is the best class to use my handy-dandy tables. I know I say this a lot, but you should really add table-making to your study repertoire. I think the table study technique really shines with pharmacology content. Just dream a little with me…each table could be a class of drugs that you could whip out at a moments notice and study for your next exam or for the exam to end all exams (ahem…the NCLEX).


5. Go to YouTube! If you ever need a visual, just enter the class of drug into a YouTube search! Here are a few to get you started. If you find some other good videos, post the links in the comment section!

Principles of PharmacologyDiureticsAntibioticsAntidiabeticsCalcium Channel BlockersAutonomic Drugs.


3 thoughts on “A Beginner’s Guide to Pharmacology

  1. I can personally attest to the table-making method. Not because I do it but because it’s so helpful when I borrow yours! Thanks!

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