Pharmacology questions can be really daunting and have caused thousands of nursing students to feel completely overwhelmed.
But today, I’m here to change this!
In this week’s episode of NCLEX Ready, I’ll be sharing with you my top five tips to help you answer the pharmacology questions on the NCLEX.
Yes friends, there is a secret formula, and I’m sharing it with you in this episode, so make sure not to miss it!
Are you ready?
Let’s dive in.
Tip #1: Generic vs Trade Name
Don’t get overwhelmed by knowing every name of the drug; the NCLEX will list the generic names. Draw your attention powers to diagnosis and apply your medical terminology skills to break the medication’s name down.
Tip #2: Know Your Pharmacology Classification
Learn the common prefixes and suffixes of medications, and even if you’re not familiar with the drug, you may be able to figure out what type it is. This will provide you the confidence you need when it comes to pharmacology.
Tip#3: Read Your Questions Carefully
Here is an example of a pharmacology question on the NCLEX:
“The nurse takes 50 year old Arnie’s vital signs and notes that his blood pressure is 100 over 53 and temperature is 98.5. Pulse is 59, and Arnie is responsive and alert. He’s feeling asymptomatic at this time. Arnie is scheduled to take Metoprolol. What should the nurse do next?
- Give Metoprolol to the patient.
- Check the order to see if there’s instructions to see if the Metoprolol is necessary.
- Call the doctor.
- Discontinue the Metoprolol.”
Read the question carefully and don’t get discouraged because the patient is in stable condition or you have never heard of Metoprolol.
Note the strategic words in this question: “What should the nurse do next?”
Do not rush to the end goal. Do not choose an answer that you know is the ultimate end goal for the patient. You have to follow the nursing process from assessment to the end.
Tip #4: Note the Subject
Back to the question above; the patient is 50 years old. Ask yourself, does his age matter with the drug that he’s about to take? Does it matter that he’s male?
Sometimes, what could work for a middle-aged person is not okay for a pregnant woman, an elderly person, or a toddler. While this does not apply to this specific question, it is something that you need to keep in mind with every single question that you answer.
In this case, the priority is to look for clues in the patient’s vital signs. Which one is an abnormal finding that will stand out to you?
Tip #5: Use the Process of Elimination
You have to take a Sherlock Holmes approach and deduce. The Nursing Board wants you to prioritize the patient’s safety, so always eliminate the answers that can cause potential harm to the patient.
I discuss all of this in more depth in the episode above, so make sure to give it a listen when you can. I promise you, it’s worth it!