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NURS 6521: Basic Pharmacotherapeutic Concepts

NURS 6521: Basic Pharmacotherapeutic Concepts


In 2011, more than 3.7 billion drug prescriptions were filled at pharmacies in the United States (The Kaiser Family Foundation, 2011). With billions of drugs prescribed each year for the treatment and management of various disorders, it is essential for advanced practice nurses to familiarize themselves with common drug treatments and effects of these treatments on patients. When prescribing drugs, ensuring patient safety is the major concern. In many clinical settings, nurses work more closely with patients than any other health care provider, making it their responsibility to assist physicians with this task. As an advanced practice nurse maintaining patient safety, you must consider the many patient factors that impact pharmacotherapeutics.

This week you explore factors that influence pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes in patients. You also examine patient factors that advanced practice nurses must consider when developing drug therapy plans.

By the end of this week, students will:

  • Analyze factors that influence pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics processes in patients
  • Assess patient factors and history to develop personalized plans of care
  • Understand and apply key terms, concepts, and principles related to pharmacotherapeutics
  • Understand and apply key terms, concepts, and principles related to prescribing drugs to treat geriatric patients

Photo Credit: Daniel Kaesler/EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images

Learning Resources

This page contains the Learning Resources for this week. Be sure to scroll down the page to see all of this week’s assigned Learning Resources. To access select media resources, please use the media player below.

Required Readings

Arcangelo, V. P., Peterson, A. M., Wilbur, V., & Reinhold, J. A. (Eds.). (2017). Pharmacotherapeutics for advanced practice: A practical approach (4th ed.). Ambler, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

  • Chapter 2, “Pharmacokinetic Basis of Therapeutics and Pharmacodynamic Principles” (pp. 17-31)
    This chapter examines concepts related to pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. It also explores patient factors that health care providers consider when prescribing drug therapy to patients.


  • Chapter 3, “Impact of Drug Interactions and Adverse Events on Therapeutics” (pp. 33-51)
    This chapter explains drug-drug, drug-food, drug-herb, and drug-disease interactions. It also reviews patient factors that influence drug interactions and then covers adverse drug reactions.


  • Chapter 4, “Principles of Pharmacotherapy in Pediatrics” (pp. 53-63)
    This chapter explores concepts relating to drug selection, administration, and interaction for pediatric patients. It also compares age-related pharmacokinetic differences in children and adults.


  • Chapter 6, “Principles of Pharmacotherapy in Elderly Patients” (pp. 73-89)
    NURS 6521 Basic Pharmacotherapeutic Concepts

    NURS 6521 Basic Pharmacotherapeutic Concepts

    This chapter describes issues and factors that affect drug therapy for elderly patients. It then explores concepts relating to drug selection, administration, and management for elderly patients.


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American Geriatric Society 2015 Beers Criteria Update Expert Panel. (2015). American Geriatrics Society 2015 updated beers criteria for potentially inappropriate medication use in older adults. Retrieved on 8/8/2018 from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/jgs.13702

This article is an update to the Beers Criteria which includes lists of potentially inappropriate medications to be avoided in older adults as well as newly added criteria that lists select drugs that should be avoided or have their dose adjusted based on the individual’s kidney function and select drug–drug interactions documented to be associated with harms in older adults.

Weitzel, K. W., Elsey, A. E., Langaee, T. Y., Benjamin, B., Nessl, D. R., Obeng, A. W.,…Johnson, J. A. (2014). Clinical pharmacogenetics implementation: Approaches, successes, and challenges. American Journal of Medical Genetics, 0(1): 56–67. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4076109/

Drugs.com. (2012). Retrieved August 22, 2012, from http://www.drugs.com/

This website presents a comprehensive review of prescription and over-the-counter drugs including information on common uses and potential side effects. It also provides updates relating to new drugs on the market, support from health professionals, and a drug-drug interactions checker.

Required Media

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Introduction to advanced pharmacology. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 8 minutes.

In this media presentation, Dr. Terry Buttaro, Associate Professor of Practice at Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences, discusses the importance of pharmacology for the advanced practice nurse.

The following document provides credit for Laureate-produced media within this course:

Credits (PDF)

Optional Resources

The following resources are highly recommended for your professional library. You are encouraged to review these resources each week.

Explain the ethical and legal implications of the scenario you selected on all stakeholders involved, such as the prescriber, pharmacist, patient, and patient’s family.

Describe strategies to address disclosure and nondisclosure as identified in the scenario you selected. Be sure to reference laws specific to your state.

Explain two strategies that you, as an advanced practice nurse, would use to guide your decision making in this scenario, including whether you would disclose your error. Be sure to justify your explanation.

Explain the process of writing prescriptions, including strategies to minimize medication errors.

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