NURSING 1009 - Pharmacology for Nursing I

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2024

Pharmacology for Nursing I introduces the science of pharmacology and considers the role of the registered nurse in the preparation, management and administration of medications. The course provides a working description of the principles of pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics and identifies the role of nerve pathways in the action of drugs. An emphasis on understanding the action of medications, safe administration practices and competence in drug calculations is made.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code NURSING 1009
    Course Pharmacology for Nursing I
    Coordinating Unit Medical Sciences
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N
    Restrictions Bachelor of Nursing
    Assessment Mid-Semester test, online quizzes, end-of-Semester exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Janet Coller

    Course Coordinator: Dr Janet Coller
    Discipline / School: Pharmacology / Adelaide Medical School
    Phone: +61 8 8313 3906
    Location: Room S232, Level 2, Helen Mayo South, Frome Road

    School of Nursing contact:
    Phone: +61 8313 3595
    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 To develop a basic appreciation of important pharmacological terms, discuss the various systems of classification and naming of drugs, and develop an understanding of how drugs are regulated.
    2 To introduce basic pharmacodynamic concepts, including familiarity with drug-receptor interactions and dose-response relationships.
    3 To obtain an understanding of how drugs are discovered and developed.
    4 To obtain an understanding of the important terms used in pharmacokinetics, describe the events that occur from the time of drug entry into the body to drug exit from the body, and understand factors that influence drug pharmacokinetics.
    5 To develop a basic appreciation of the routes of drug administration and various forms of drug preparations.
    6 To describe the systems and processes used in the prescribing (including meaning and use of common abbreviations), dispensing and administration of medication.
    7 To develop a basic appreciation of the mechanisms of drug and disease interactions.
    8 To obtain an understanding as to how and why doses need to be adjusted for specific patient factors.
    9 To obtain an understanding of the fundamental skills required for drug dosage calculations, including numeracy and understanding of the international system of units, and obtain an understanding of the approaches used in therapeutic drug monitoring.
    10 To obtain an understanding of the principles of safe administration of drugs, and develop an appreciation for the occupational health issues in handling of medications and medication management plans.
    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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
    Bullock S and Manias E, Fundamentals of Pharmacology, 8th or 9th Ed. Pearson Australia.
    Recommended Resources
    Australian Medicines Handbook, online version available via Barr Smith Library Catalogue
    Online Learning
    This course will be supported by a range of online supports within MyUni
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Content will be mainly delivered in lectures and supplemented with tutorials.

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

    The workload for this course requires attendance at:
    • 20 x 1 hour lecture spread over teaching blocks
    • 5 x 1 hour tutorial spread over teaching blocks
    Non contact hours for assessment and tutorial preparation will be 4 hours per week.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Pharmacology for Nursing I
    Lecture series (please note lecture order may be subject to change)
    1. Introduction to Pharmacology

    2. Drug names & classifications

    3. How do drugs work? I Targets & Mechanisms

    4. How do drugs work? II Pharmacodynamics

    5. Controlled drugs

    6. Drug regulation / scheduling in Australia

    7. Drug discovery & development

    8. Basic pharmacokinetic concepts

    9. Routes of drug administration

    10. Factors influencing drug absorption, distribution, elimination

    11. Factors influencing drug clearance, half-life, bioavailability, volume of distribution, first-pass

    12. Principles of individualisation of drug therapy: Drug dosing & disease / patient factors

    13. Drug dosing & interactions

    14. Drug prescriptions & dispensing

    15. Drug dosing principles

    16. Drug dosing exercises

    17. Adverse drug reactions

    18. Safe drug administration to non-cooperative patients & IV fluids

    19. Occupational health & storing / handling drugs

    20. Medication management plans

    Tutorial series
    1. Lecture 2-4 content

    2. Lecture 5-8 content

    3. Lecture 9-12 content 

    4. Lecture 13-16 content

    5. Lecture 17-20 content

  • 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
    Lecture based online assignments (x3) Summative 30% (10% x3) 1-10
    Mid-semester test Summative 25% 1-4
    End of semester exam Summative 45% 4-10

    Assessment Detail
    ASSESSMENT 1: Lecture based online assignment (x3)
    Lecture-based online assignment: These assignments will encourage engagement with the material presented in lectures and support the development of knowledge required for clinical placement.

    ASSESSMENT 2: Mid-semester test
    Mid-semester test, online: Conducted in the middle of the course to give feedback. This 60 minute test will confirm the retention of particular aspects of pharmacology and will encourage students to consider extended application of pharmacology concepts to ‘real’ life clinical situations. Will consist of multiple choice and short answer questions.

    ASSESSMENT 3: Exam
    End of semester exam, in person: A timed assessment (120 minutes) that will assess a range of semester content and consist of multiple choice and short answer questions.
    All online assessments will be completed using the MyUni links during the specified times. No additional submission is required.

    Extensions are generally awarded for no more than 10 working days unless there are exceptional circumstances.
    To apply for an Assessment Extension, a student must submit an application for extension form to the course coordinator prior to, or within 3 business days of, the assessment deadline.

    See the Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment Policy 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.

    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.

    Where possible the feedback regarding ways to improve the course from students who took this course in semester 2 2018 has been incorporated to improve course content and delivery in 2019 with our responses to these as follows:

    Some students expressed that there were too many lectures / tutorials in the teaching blocks. Unfortunately, due to the timetabling constraints of the program we are not able to decrease the number of lectures in some weeks of the teaching blocks or change the timing of these lectures to remove breaks for some students.

    Regarding the lecture content at times being difficult, we will do our best to add extra examples to illustrate concepts and the course discussion board is actively monitored to ensure all questions regarding course content are answered within 24 hours.

    It has also been suggested that the tutorial sessions could be expanded with regards to the time to go over content addressed in the questions as opposed to having time set aside at the beginning of the session to answer the questions in smaller groups of students. However, this would assume that all students have had sufficient time to attempt the questions before the session which is not always possible when teaching in compressed blocks. We have also looked at improving the interactive nature of the tutorial sessions, but this will only work if everyone prepares answers to the tutorial questions before they come to the session.

    Students are to ensure they are familiar with the contents of the 2019 School of Nursing Student Handbook and Style Guide. A PDF of this document is available through MyUni.
  • 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.