Pharmacology courses introduce students to key concepts of pharmacology, common drugs that are used in nursing practice, how patient variables impact drug efficacy, and the importance of nursing interventions in drug management, according to Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. These courses provide nurses with a concrete understanding of drug contraindications, precautions and adverse reactions. Patient variables that may impact the effect of medications include gender, age, health status, diet, culture and other lifestyle factors.
Pharmacology classes are essential in nursing education because of the important role of nurses in medication administration in a health care setting. Before giving a patient a medication, the nurse is responsible for knowing that patient's health history, all of the medications he is currently taking, physical assessment findings and recent vital signs, according to ATI Nursing Education.
For each medication that a patient is prescribed, his nurse is required to know why the drug was prescribed, normal dose ranges, the usual route of administration, possible side effects and adverse reactions, and how to determine if the drug is effective for that patient, explains ATI Nursing Education. The nurse is also responsible for educating a patient about the medication he is prescribed, including when to call his doctor or seek medical treatment. The nurse also needs to determine a patient's level of understanding of the information and assess for knowledge gaps.