Pharmacological therapies are the most extensively utilized and successful approach when treating medical conditions.
Although numerous other therapies are obtainable, such as osteopathic medicine [which combines traditional medicine and Osteopathic Manipulative Treatments] and alternative therapies [acupuncture, aquatic therapies, yoga], most healthcare providers and patients still prefer drug therapies as their primary choice [it all depends on the kind of ailment being managed].
In managing patients, the nurse is inarguably the closest professional to the patient.
They are the ones who handle most of the administration of drug therapies and are also in the front when it comes to subsequent observation for reactions and responses.
Nurses are in the best position to detect abnormalities, undertake possible interventions and alert prescribers, whether a Physician or an NP.
Nurses play a vital role in the cycle of drug therapies, from assessment to prescription, administration, observation/intervention and psychological support.
During these stages of patient care, the crucial role of nurses cannot be underestimated as they are in direct contact with the patient, who is the centre of healthcare.
Their proximity and closeness give them a “clinical hedge” over other healthcare professionals, especially regarding assessment, observation and health education.
It is therefore of utmost importance that the nurse has adequate knowledge about pharmacology [pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics] to allow them to understand the patient when they are on drug therapies, use their assessment skills to detect early warning signs of drug toxicity, overdose or need for prescription of a new medication or termination of an already existing prescription or even the continuation of drug therapy.
In this category on Care City, we will discuss at length the nurses’ responsibilities during drug therapies, what they must know, how they should assess the patient, identify side effects and adverse effects, their interventions and a host of other critical pharmacological concepts.
We’ll begin with a brief introduction to pharmacology, which will include a brief history, basic terms, some basic calculations and vital aspects of pharmacology before we now start considering the pharmacological management of disease conditions and the nurses’ responsibilities.
To understand in-depth the effects of a drug on the body, it is also essential that there is adequate knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the human being and pathology – on this note, we’ll also include brief anatomy, physiology and pathology.
So we divided the basics.
In our discussion, we’ll make things easy to understand by listing out the core elements of pharmacological therapy:
- The health care providers will include primary providers, physicians, nurses, medical laboratory scientists, pharmacists and others who comprise the health team and are directly [or indirectly] involved in the whole care process.
- In healthcare, the focus is always on the patient. To fully understand pharmacology, it’s essential to deeply understand their physiology, how they physically and mentally react to specific pharmacological therapies and determine the necessary interventions nurses must take.
- Pathological processes: The primary reason pharmacological therapies are prescribed is mainly to treat disease and alleviate the symptoms of diseases or manage other medical issues not necessarily caused by diseases, like trauma. The nurses must have a fine grasp of pathology/pathophysiology to appreciate pharmacological intervention better.
- The medication in use: The Drug used is an essential element in clinical pharmacology; nurses must be conversant with the therapeutic effects of medication used to provide pharmacological care. They may not necessarily know the drug down to the atomic or molecular level. Still, they should know what a drug can do, how it works, its interactions and other essential characteristics.
These are what I call the “core elements of pharmacological therapy,” and the nurse must understand these elements.
So, in the following articles, we’ll begin with a brief history of pharmacology [like I said earlier] and some basic stuff before we get to business properly.
We’ll also feature experts in the field of nursing pharmacology who will share their ideas with us.
What To Read
REFEEDING SYNDROME IN CRITICALLY ILL PATIENTS
The Number One Drug Dosage Calculation Handbook For Nurses Is Now Available On Amazon [and other online bookstores]
Find out more, here.