NURSING 7015 - Applied Pharmacology in Nursing

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2022

This course will build on nurses understanding of drug use and administration. Drugs will be discussed according to their class of action. Students will learn how drugs are chosen for particular effects. The pharmacological principles of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, adverse effects, contraindications and precautions will be described using examples from different drug classes. The polypharmacy and the quality use of medicines will also be presented.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code NURSING 7015
    Course Applied Pharmacology in Nursing
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Nursing School
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Face to Face weekly compulsory sessions for international students as per ESOS compliance
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Restrictions Available to M.NurSc and G.DipNurSc students only
    Course Description This course will build on nurses understanding of drug use and administration. Drugs will be discussed according to their class of action. Students will learn how drugs are chosen for particular effects. The pharmacological principles of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, adverse effects, contraindications and precautions will be described using examples from different drug classes. The polypharmacy and the quality use of medicines will also be presented.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Mr Iain Everett

    Iain Everett
    Adelaide Nursing School
    Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences Building, North Terrace
    The University of Adelaide 5005

    Phone: +61 8 8313 4308
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Outline the principles of pharmacology and describe the aspects which are important to all nurses
    2 Define and demonstrate a general understanding of pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics
    3 Discuss the nurses’ role as it applies to the administration of drugs to patients
    4 Classify commonly administered medications in your particular area of practice
    5 Interpret the pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, pharmaco-therapeutics, common adverse reactions, drug interactions of each major drug group
    6 Outline the various pieces of commonwealth and state legislation relating to the regulation, use and testing of drugs in Australia, especially the Therapeutic Goods Act and Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Acts and Regulations
    7 Describe the scheduling of drugs in Australia
    8 Analyse the sociocultural factors which impact on the administration of drugs to patients across the lifespan
    9 Critically examine medication errors and adverse drug reactions and drug-drug interactions
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.

    1, 2, 5, 9

    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    1, 3, 5, 8

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.

    3, 8, 9

    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.

    1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9

    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Bryant, B & Knights, K 2019, Pharmacology for Heath Professionals, 5th edition, Mosby, Sydney.

    Royal Australian College of General Practitioners., Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists. & Pharmaceutical Society of Australia. 2019, Australian Medicines Handbook, Australian Medicines Handbook, Adelaide, available online, <>

    Therapeutic Guidelines Limited 2016. eTG complete, Therapeutic Guidelines Limited, West Melbourne, available on line <> 

    Recommended Resources
    Bullock, S & Manias, E 2016, Fundamentals of Pharmacology, 8th edn, Pearson Australia, Melbourne.

    Burchum, J and Laura Rosenthal, L 2018, Lehne's Pharmacology For Nursing Care, 10th edn, Saunders Elsevier, St Louis.

    National clinical guidelines for the management of drug use during pregnancy, birth and the early development years of the newborn.

    Available at:

    You are not required to buy recommended texts. However, they provide valuable supplementary reading on various aspects of the material covered within this course and you are encouraged to have a look at them.
    Online Learning
    All students enrolled in a postgraduate coursework nursing program have access to the School of Nursing – Postgraduate Coursework Student Centre on MyUni. If you would like the opportunity to network with other students, you can use the Communication features in the site. This site will also feature information about the latest news and events at the School of Nursing.

    UNIFIED is your one-stop shop for email, calendar, MyUni and Access Adelaide. It even allows you to search the Library.
    UNIFIED is available to all active students; with a single login you can access your student systems and personal information through a central website. Login with your Student ID ("a1234567") and Password.

    For more information, including easy to follow instructions visit

    Library Resources
    Help for Nursing Students
    The University of Adelaide Library has a website to help nursing students use the library and its resource (

    Remote student library service
    The University of Adelaide Library provides a document delivery and loans service to non-metropolitan students who do not visit a University of Adelaide campus to attend classes (
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course uses mixed modes of delivery.
    Each module corresponds to approximately one week of study. Each week you are directed to specific readings and the Study Guide contains interactive activities which are designed to test and consolidate your knowledge and to develop your skills. You will be expected to undertake a substantial program of reading. Please note that the terms drug, medicine and medications are used synonymously.
    Working through each module is vital to your successful completion of the course. You are encouraged to read further and become familiar with accessing materials from libraries, databases and the Internet.
    To successfully pass Applied Pharmacology in Nursing, you will need to allocate an appropriate amount of time commitment to your study.
    Two seminar afternoons or evenings will be offered when students may choose to attend face to face sessions. 
    You will need to allocate non contact time. Non contact time will be required for a range of activities which may include, but are not limited to, assessment tasks, reading, researching, note taking, revision, and writing, consultation with staff and informal discussion with other students. While the relative proportion of contact and non contact time may vary from course to course, as a guide, a full time student should expect to spend, on average, 48 hours per week on their studies during teaching periods.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    It is expected that you will need to invest about 4 hours per week of study to successfully complete this course. It is recommended that you plan your time commitment to the course at the beginning of the semester.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week Topic
    1 Pharmacodynamics
    2 Pharmacokinetics
    3 Current Professional practice for Drug Therapy
    4 Adverse Drug Reactions and Drug Interactions
    5 Quality Use of Medicines
    6 Individual and Lifespan Aspects of Drug Therapy
    7 Analgesics
    8 Illicit and Recreational Drugs
    9 Drug Classes 1 (as appropriate to class)
    10 Drug Classes 2 (as appropriate to class)
    11 Drug Classes 3 (as appropriate to class)
    12 Drug Classes 4 (as appropriate to class)
    Exam Preparation (Swot)
    Exam Weeks
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Assessment Type Weighting Learning Outcome(s) being addressed
    Online Quiz Formative 0% 1-2
    Essay Summative 30% All
    Portfolio of 5 drugs with exam on these drugs Summative 70% All
    Assessment Detail
    Assessment 1
    Online quiz
    This online quiz will be used to assess knowledge and understanding of pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics – the first 2 weeks of the semester. This quiz is not weighted but must be completed successfully (multiple attempts until successful)

    Assessment 2
    Essay - 1,250 words 
    Choose ONE drug commonly used in your clinical setting and describe the pharmacokinetic pathways and pharmacodynamics of your nominated drug Essay Guidelines: Describe the pharmacokinetic pathways from administration (gastrointestinal, IV, inhalation etc) through absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion.
    A high standard of presentation following the School Academic Manual is expected.

    Assessment 3
    You are required to write and submit for assessment five (5) drug monographs and complete an online exam about these 5 drugs. The monograph should be created using the template available on MyUni. The template is based on the Australian Medicines Handbook (AMH), but the information will need to be adapted for nurses and your monograph must reflect how the drug is used in your own clinical practice. Each monograph should be at least 500 words, but no more than 1000 words. In addition to these monographs you will be required to answer questions about your drugs in an online test.
    Assessments, unless otherwise stated in your Study guide, are to be submitted electronically via Assignments in MyUni on the due date identified in this Study guide. Instructions for assignment submission are available for all students under Tutorials at

    An assessment submitted via MyUni must be submitted as a .doc, .docx or .rtf file. If submitting a PowerPoint presentation for marking, the .ppt or .pptx must be submitted as .pdf file. It is also important to submit your file under your name, such as surname.firstname. MyUni stamps all the other details against your filename once you submit your assessment.

    An Assignment Coversheet must be submitted with each assessment. The coversheet should be the first page of your assessment. A word version of the Assignment Coversheet is available to download at The Plagiarism Statement must be signed and dated for your assessment to be marked (please note the details stated on the Assignment Coversheet). More information on avoiding Plagiarism is available at
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Marking criteria and grade descriptors
    The University of Adelaide has generic grade descriptors that underpin the marking of all assessments for this course. The grade descriptors are set out in the following policy Additionally, the School of Nursing details these in the Student handbook and style guide available at The marking criteria for assessments used in this course are found in the Study Guide. It is strongly recommended that you make yourself familiar with these prior to starting your assessment.

    Students are reminded that plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty constitute a serious offence and can result in disciplinary procedures. Students are advised to read the policy Academic Honesty and Assessment Obligations for Coursework Students Policy & Coursework Students: Academic Dishonesty Procedures policy, available at The following definitions should be noted.

    Referencing: providing a full bibliographic reference to the source of the citation (in a style as determined by the School).
    Quotation: placing an excerpt from an original source into a paper using either quotation marks or indentation, with the source cited, using an approved referencing system in order to give credit to the original author.
    Paraphrasing: repeating a section of text using different words which retain the original meaning.
    Please note: changing just a few words does not constitute paraphrasing.

    Marking guide – Essay
    Structure and Writing Style 25%
    Structure (15%)
    • Introduces/outlines/situates the topic of the essay.
    • Clearly describes the way in which the essay will proceed.
    • The essay is structured in a logical sequence so that the content flows (headings may be used to develop the structure of the paper).
    • The essay ends with a cogent, defendable conclusion that summarises the discussion within the body of the paper.

    Writing Style (10%)

    • The essay is written with clear sentence structure, clarity of argument and precision of expression and the spelling and grammar are correct.
    Content and Critical Analysis 60%
    Content (30%)
    • The essay question has been answered or the topic has been discussed.

    • The essay content has clear links to contemporary nursing practice.

    • The student’s paper demonstrates a depth of understanding of the topic and significant issues.

    Critical Analysis (30%)

    • The essay demonstrates a high degree of critical thought and insights by:
         • providing a justification/rationale for the argument/discussion
         • demonstrating they have reflected on the complex issues surrounding the topic/question
         • discussing the topic from differing perspectives, thereby providing a balanced argument/discussion
    Referencing 15%
    • The referencing style used throughout the poster is congruent with the Discipline’s Student Handbook and Style Guide.

    • The reference list is accurate (i.e. no missing page numbers, volumes, correct title etc), complete (i.e. no references in the body of the paper are missing from the reference list) and consistent with the Discipline’s Student Handbook and Style Guide.

    • The references cited are contemporary (i.e. less than 10 years old unless seminal papers).

    • Primary references are used predominantly (i.e. the original reference has been cited rather than a secondary source).

    • There is evidence in the paper that the student has searched widely for information related to the topic/issue.

    • The student has acknowledged all sources of information and all diagrams and photos are referenced.

    • Direct quotations are only used to make crucial points or to support the discussion/argument.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    Not applicable due to low number of responses.
  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.