Pharmacology Success: A Course Review Applying Critical Thinking to Test Taking
PHARMACOLOGY TEST-TAKING HINTS
The test taker must know medications, and memorization is part of administering medications safely. This chapter contains some tips to assist the test taker in learning about medications; they apply to all the questions in this book.
First, learn the specific classification of the medication, including the actions, side effects, and adverse effects of the medications in that classification. Also learn how to safely administer a medication in the classification. Generally speaking, medications in a classification share characteristics. However, be sure not to be too broad in the classification. For example, do not combine all medications administered for hypertension in the same category.
Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, beta blockers, and calcium channel blockers do not work in the same manner and are not in the same classification—even though they may all be used to treat hypertension. Similarly, oral medications for diabetes mellitus and diuretics fall into several classification groups; the facts about each specific classification must be learned. Each classification has its own effects on the body, its own side effects, and its own adverse effects; in addition, the nurse must take specific steps before administering a medication in a specific classification category. When administering medications for a group of clients, the test taker must realize that time is a realistic problem. It is not feasible for the nurse to look up 50 to 60 medications and administer them all within the dosing time frame, so it is imperative that the nurse learn about the most common medications.
One tip for learning about medications is for the test taker to complete handmade drug cards. This is better than buying ready-made cards because in completing the drug cards the test taker uses more than one method of learning—reading, deciding which information to put on the card, and writing the pertinent information on the card. All of this assists the test taker in memorizing the information.
When the test taker is deciding which information is the most important to write on a drug card, the following five questions can be used as a guide. The test taker should always ask “why” an intervention is being implemented. That is the key to critical thinking.
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