ESSAY: Pharmacological Treatments



Create a 10-slide PowerPoint presentation to identify medications associated with a chosen disease or health condition, explain the actions and side effects of the medications, and discuss any controversies related to the medications.  Explain a treatment regime, including pharmacology, for the disease or health condition you selected, along with how the treatment regime may affect a client’s lifestyle.

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By having a thorough understanding of pharmacology, nurses can eliminate possible medication errors in their nursing practices.  The basic principles of pharmacology include

pharmacokinetics (what the body does to a drug) and

pharmacodynamics (what a drug does to the body).  

Pharmacology plays a significant role in the nursing profession, so it is extremely important for nurses to understand the actions of the pharmacological agents they will administer to patients in order to intervene appropriately if necessary.

Another critical skill for a nurse is the ability to apply and evaluate evidence-based practices, principles, models, and pharmacological guidelines and protocols commonly used in nursing practice.  Understanding how specific protocols and guidelines are developed will aid nurses in treating patients with a multitude of physiological and psychological conditions.

Nurses must be able to measure outcomes of pharmacological interventions when caring for patients.  The effective use of evidence-based practice guidelines, models, and principles is one way that nurses can analyze quality outcomes for the pharmacological treatments used for patients.

Pharmacology includes different categories of major drugs used in the treatment of primary diseases.  The same drug may be used to treat more than one disease or condition, while two patients with the same disease may require different drug treatments.  In addition, the professional nurse must be aware of what types of things can influence a patient’s response to a drug.  Some things are obvious—other medications, for example—while some are less so.  Things like age, weight, herbs—even foods people eat every day—can influence how a person responds to a particular drug.  At times, even a strong cultural belief can influence how a drug will react.  Nurses who administer drugs have a responsibility to assess patients for both the desired response, as well as for any unwanted and potentially harmful reactions that may occur.


To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below

What constitutes a medication error?

How can medication errors be prevented?

How do you use evidence-based practice in your workplace?



Cohen, M. R. (2015). Medication errors. Nursing, 45(3), 72.

Hernandez, J., Goeckner, B., & Wanzer, L. (2011). Perioperative pharmacology: Pharmacotherapeutics, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics. AORN Journal, 93(2), 259–266; 267–269 (quiz).

Drach-Zahavy, A., Somech, A., Admi, H., Peterfreund, H., Peker, H. & Priente, O. (2014). How do we learn from errors? A prospective study of the link between the ward’s learning practices and medication administration errors. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 51(3), 448–457.

Eisenberg, S. (2012). NIOSH safe handling of hazardous drugs guidelines becomes state law. Journal of Infusion Nursing, 35(5), 316–319.

Molloy, L., Field, J., Beckett, P., & Holmes, D. (2012). PRN psychotropic medication and acute mental health nursing: Reviewing the evidence. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing & Mental Health Services, 50(8), 12–15.

Fleming, S., Brady, A., & Malone, A. (2014). An evaluation of the drug calculation skills of registered nurses. Nurse Education in Practice, 14(1), 55–61.

Jenny, J. L., Jenny, C., Jayadevan, S., Jayakumary, M., Mohamed, A., Arun, S., & Mohamed, F. M. (2012). Nurses opinion on the attributes of polypharmacy in patient safety. Acta Medica Iranica, 50(7), 516–521.

Patel, N. K., Wood, R. C., & Espino, D. V. (2012). Cultural considerations: Pharmacological and nonpharmacological means for improving blood pressure control among Hispanic patients. International Journal of Hypertension, 2012, 831016.

Cleary-Holdforth, J., & Leufer, T. (2013). The strategic role of education in the prevention of medication errors in nursing: Part 2. Nurse Education in Practice, 13(3), 217–220.

Collier, I. A., & Baker, D. M. (2014). Implementation of a pharmacist-supervised outpatient diabetes treatment clinic. American Journal Of Health-System Pharmacy, 71(1), 27-36. doi:10.2146/ajhp130200

Jandorf, S., Siersma, V., Køster-Rasmussen, R., Olivarius, N. F., & Waldorff, F. B. (2015). The impact of patients’ involvement in cooking on their mortality and morbidity: A 19-year follow-up of patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Scandinavian Journal Of Primary Health Care, 33(1), 33-39. doi:10.3109/02813432.2015.1001940

Institute for Safe Medication Practices. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Healthy People 2020. (2015). Retrieved from

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Montalvo, I. (2007). The National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI). OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 12(3).


Imagine your supervisor has asked you to conduct a lunch and learn session to educate your fellow nursing staff on pharmacological interventions.


Select a disease or health condition that requires pharmacological intervention.  You may choose any disease or health condition you wish, but the disease or health condition must be relevant to nurses from a variety of settings (for example: ER, pediatrics, public health, et cetera).



Once you have selected a disease or health condition (DIABETES), create a PowerPoint presentation you could use in your lunch and learn session, including the following:

1. Identify the disease or health condition you have chosen, along with the areas where nurses are likely to see it.  (Do this in the agenda slide or next slide after the agenda.)  DIABETES

2. Identify the three drugs used most often in the treatment of the disease or health condition.  METFORMIN, GLIPIZIDE, HUMLIN R

3. Explain the types of actions, side effects, indications, and contraindications that could be expected from the pharmacological treatment.

4. Describe the treatment regime most often prescribed for the disease or health condition.  This should include pharmacology but not be limited to pharmacology.  DIET, EXERCISE, WEIGHT CONTROL

5. Explain how the treatment regime (including pharmacology) may impact a client’s lifestyle.  Consider things such as finances, ease or complexity of administration, instructions (frequency, duration), et cetera.  PLEASE INCLUDE SOMETHING ABOUT HOLDING PATIENTS MORE ACCOUNTABLE WITH THEIR DISEASE PROCESS AND USING EDUCATION AS A FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE…LIKE ACCOUNTABILITY, DIET, WEIGHT CONTROL, AND EXERCISE INSTEAD OF JUST “THROWING” PILLS AT DIABETES.

6. Describe how a nurse should monitor a client being treated for the disease or health condition in order to obtain a quality patient outcome.  ARE THE PATIENTS PURCHASING THEIR MEDICATIONS ON A REGULAR BASIS, WEIGHT CHANGES, NO S/SX OF WORSENING OF DISEASE PROCESS, ARE THEY KEEPING THEIR FOLLOW UP APPTS, ASK ABOUT DAILY DIET…HAVE PATIENT GIVE EXAMPLES OF WHAT THEY EAT

6. Explain any controversies associated with the drugs used in the treatment.  For example, is there a black box warning with any of the drugs?  POLYPHARMACY, MEDICATION ERRORS, KIDNEY FAILURE

7. Use the notes section of each slide to expand your points or draft your mock oral presentation (or both) and reference your resources.

8. Use at least 3 peer-reviewed or professional resources to support your work in this assessment.

9. Be sure your PowerPoint includes a title slide, a slide with your agenda or list of topics to be covered, and a reference slide.

10. Follow current APA style and formatting guidelines for your citations and references.

Additional Requirements

Number of slides: 10, not including the title and reference slides.

Be creative.  Consider your intended audience.


1. Identifies the pharmacological agents most often used in the treatment of a disease or health condition and explains how the agents are typically used.

2. Explains the types of actions, side effects, indications, and contraindications that may be expected from a pharmacological treatment and discusses which may be serious or life threatening (or both).

3. Describes the treatment regime, including pharmacology, most often prescribed for a disease or health condition and explains how non-pharmacological treatments work in tandem with pharmacological treatments.

4. Describes how a treatment regime, including pharmacology, may impact all aspects of a client’s lifestyle, including diet, physical activity, sleep patterns, moods, pain, memory, et cetera.

5. Describes how to monitor a client following a prescribed treatment regime, including pharmacology, in order to obtain a quality patient outcome and identifies specific warning signs that may require intervention.

6. Explains the controversies related to a pharmacological agent and compares the benefits to the risks.

7. Writes clearly and logically with correct use of spelling, grammar, punctuation, and mechanics; uses relevant evidence to support a central idea.

8. Correctly formats citations and references with no errors.

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