Pharmacology for Nursing School and Beyond

Great news! Nurses are credited with intercepting 50 percent of preventable adverse drug events [1]. But first, pharmacology, often mentioned by nursing students as the most challenging subject, must be mastered. Pharmacology requires repetition and exposure to master.

The first six months of being a nurse you begin to memorize and use both the generic and brand name of drugs interchangeably. Nurses often learn by making mistakes. You can master meds safely on the phone app, Med Pass Practice, by testing yourself with 750 questions on medications. 

You cannot memorize everything, but there are some wonderful tricks, like the prefixes and suffixes, to help you remember and identify entire classes of drugs. 

The questions in Med Pass Practice are designed with feedback to help you learn these memorization tricks. 

Find out more about the app on

The Adult Med-Surg section on Med Pass Practice contains questions on 125 common med-surg medications. 

Try it out! Download the app for free and test yourself on the first 25 Adult Med-Surg meds (level 1). If you like it, full app access is $2.99 per month. 

Download on the App Store

Get it on Google Play

You can study with flash cards:

Quiz yourself on medication brand vs generic names, indication, mechanism of action and what to know items, like side effects and administration:

1.         Leape, L.L., et al., Systems analysis of adverse drug events. ADE Prevention Study Group. JAMA, 1995. 274(1): p. 35-43.

FL certified nurses are exempt from continuing ed!

The Florida Board of Nursing (BON) updated their continuing education requirements to exempt certified nurses from most required courses.

Now all you need to renew your Florida APRN license is this package!
Florida Certified APRN Package

Florida certified RN will be required to complete only the 2-hour human trafficking course and Florida certified APRN will be required to complete the 2-hour Human Trafficking and 3-hour Safe and Effective Prescription of Controlled Substances course. 

Visit the Florida Board of Nursing’s website for more information.

Link to Florida Board of Nursing Renewal Site

The Florida Board of Nursing announced that, “A nurse who is certified by a health care specialty program accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies or the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification is exempt from continuing education requirements.”

If you’re a certified nurse, you can elect to receive the exemption and reduce your required biannual continuing education by visiting CE Broker. 

We offer both the Human Trafficking and Safe and Effective Prescription of Controlled Substances courses.  Renew Now CE is a Florida Board of Nursing and American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) certified provider of continuing education. 

We offer a $16 Safe and Effective Prescription of Controlled Substances course link: Safe and Effective

If you would like to take these courses from us on CE Broker, we offer the courses hosted on CE Broker: Provider on CE Broker Link

Cannabis and the Brain

The expansion of legalized medical and recreational marijuana has caused increased concern about safety and the effect of cannabis on the brain.

What do we know about what cannabis does to the brain?
Cannabis consumption is associated with impairment in driving, brain function, and changes to brain volume in areas that are key to neurodevelopment.

Cannabis and impaired driving:

  • Research done at Columbia University showed that half of drivers age 16-25, who died in vehicle accidents were under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or both (Keyes, Brady, & Li, 2015).
  • Researchers evaluated whether recreational use of cannabis by drivers increased the risk of an intoxicant-related MVA using meta-analysis to systematically review studies based on observation. They found a correlation between the consumption of cannabis by drivers and an increase in intoxicant-related MVAs (Asbridge, Hayden, & Cartwright, 2012).

Cannabis and brain function:

  • A virtual office simulation was used to assess prospective memory in 20 participants who do not use illegal substances and 20 cannabis-only users.  Participants were tasked with common duties and their ability to complete these duties were assessed.  The cannabis users demonstrated a poorer performance overall, particularly in time and event-based prospective memory tasks (Montgomery, Seddon, Fisk, Murphy, & Jansari, 2012).
  • Adolescents who use cannabis have presented with abnormalities in both structure and function in developing regions of the brain, which are necessary for higher order cognition.  Cannabis users demonstrated smaller medial orbitofrontal volumes which indicates an interference in key processes in neurodevelopment (Price et al., 2015).

Based on the evidence that cannabis consumption impairs driving, businesses like Hound Labs are developing breathalyzer tests to detect THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana.  Development of a marijuana breathalyzer has proven challenging as THC has a lower vapor pressure than ethanol, making it more difficult to detect.  Research performed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Intramural Research Program concluded that exhaled cannabis measurement of THC can detect recent use.  The researchers noted measuring exhaled THC wasn’t foolproof, with one individual showing no detectible THC, and the sensitivity window for detection of consumption was short, between 0.5-2 hours (Himes et al., 2013).  Further research is needed to perfect this important tool for measuring impairment in drugged driving.

Want to learn more about cannabis?  Take our cannabis class or sign up for a package that includes the class.

Asbridge, M., Hayden, J. A., & Cartwright, J. L. (2012). Acute cannabis consumption and motor vehicle collision risk: systematic review of observational studies and meta-analysis. BMJ, 344, e536. doi:10.1136/bmj.e536

Himes, S. K., Scheidweiler, K. B., Beck, O., Gorelick, D. A., Desrosiers, N. A., & Huestis, M. A. (2013). Cannabinoids in exhaled breath following controlled administration of smoked cannabis. Clin Chem, 59(12), 1780-1789. doi:10.1373/clinchem.2013.207407

Keyes, K. M., Brady, J. E., & Li, G. (2015). Effects of minimum legal drinking age on alcohol and marijuana use: evidence from toxicological testing data for fatally injured drivers aged 16 to 25 years. Inj Epidemiol, 2(1), 1. doi:10.1186/s40621-014-0032-1

Montgomery, C., Seddon, A. L., Fisk, J. E., Murphy, P. N., & Jansari, A. (2012). Cannabis-related deficits in real-world memory. Hum Psychopharmacol, 27(2), 217-225. doi:10.1002/hup.1273

Price, J. S., McQueeny, T., Shollenbarger, S., Browning, E. L., Wieser, J., & Lisdahl, K. M. (2015). Effects of marijuana use on prefrontal and parietal volumes and cognition in emerging adults. Psychopharmacology (Berl), 232(16), 2939-2950. doi:10.1007/s00213-015-3931-0