Nursing 631

NURS 631: Advanced Pharmacology

Prerequisite: Graduate Standing in Nursing or Permission of Instructor

Cross-Listed: NURS 716

Credit Hours: (3) Three hours seminar

Every Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) should have a well-grounded understanding of basic pharmacologic principles, which includes the cellular response level. This area of core content incorporates both pharmacotherapeutics and pharmacokinetics of broad categories of pharmacologic agents. Emphasis of this online course is on the understanding of pharmacology in health promotion, protection, and restoration.


Detailed Description of Content of the Course

This course is designed to provide the student with the knowledge and skills to assess, diagnose, and manage (including the prescription of pharmacologic agents) a patient’s common health problems in a safe, high quality, and cost-effective manner.  The course addresses both pharmacotherapeutics and pharmacokinetics of pharmacologic agents, incorporating both broad pharmacologic principles and cellular response mechanisms.  The role of pharmacology in health promotion, protection, and restoration is emphasized.  As part of the course, students may access current national standards and clinical guidelines. 

Topical Outline

A.  Overview of Pharmacology and Terminology

        1.  Pharmacodynamics/Pharmacokinetics

        2.  Issues in Client Education and Adherence to Medication Regimens

        3.  Special Populations

                a.  Children and Adolescents
                b.  Pregnant Women
                c.  Older Adults
                d.  Ethnic Groups

B.  Pathophysiology and Pharmacology

            1.  Psychoneuroimmunology

            2.  Genetics

            3.  Autonomic Nervous System

            4.  Central Nervous System

C.  Categories of Medications

            1.  Respiratory

            2.  Cardiovascular

            3.  Hematological (Anemias)

            4.  Infection

            5.  Gastrointestinal

            6.  Renal

            7.  Endocrine

            8.  Opiate Narcotics

            9.  Analgesics and Anti-inflammatory Agents

            10.  Neurological

            11. Psychiatric

            12. Other Agents such as Alternative, Complementary, and Integrative Medications; Cancer Medications; and Sleep Medications

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This online course may incorporate lectures, discussion, and case studies.  Because the course is online, audio or video presentations/lectures, discussion boards, and chat rooms may be used.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Upon completion of this course, the student will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. comprehend the pharmacotherapeutics of broad categories of drugs;

2. analyze the relationship between pharmacologic agents and physiologic/pathologic


3. understand the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of broad categories of drugs;

4. understand the motivations of patients in seeking prescriptions and the willingness to

adhere to prescribed regimens;

5. safely and appropriately select pharmacologic agents for the management of patient health problems based on patient variations, the problem being managed, and cost-effectiveness.


Assessment Measures

Evaluation measures to assess achievement of course objectives may include case studies, presentations, and quizzes/tests.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

Approved:  February 2010