PNM300 - Pharmacology for the Practical Nurse

Outline info
Last revision date 2018-07-30 10:30:31.963
Last review date 2018-07-30 10:30:31.965

Subject Title
Pharmacology for the Practical Nurse

Subject Description
This course builds on knowledge from previous courses, such as math, skills lab, anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology to develop understanding of the therapeutic and adverse effects of drugs on the body.  The course examines pharmacological concepts and nursing practices required to safely care for clients in need of pharmacological treatments. General principles of pharmacology, drug actions at the physiological level, common drug classifications, pharmacotherapeutics, principles of medication preparation and administration related to the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) competencies are studied. Topics studied will focus on the implications for, and application to, the role of the Registered Practical Nurse in medication administration.

Credit Status
Successful completion of this required subject provides one credit towards the Practical Nursing Diploma.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

Upon completion of this subject, the student will be able to:

  1. Describe terms, concepts and basic processes associated with drug therapy.
  2. Describe characteristics of major drug groups and selected individual drugs in terms of mechanism of action, indications for use, contraindications to use, expected therapeutic effects, common and serious adverse effects, accurate administration and essential client teaching.
  3. Identify the client’s legal rights and responsibilities and the importance to obtain the client’s consent, maintaining client’s privacy and confidentiality, dignity and self-determination as part of client care and medication administration.
  4. Demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving using pharmacology knowledge related to the assessment of clients, implementation and evaluation of care for clients.  
  5. Examines the determinants of health, cultural and ethical aspects of drug therapy across the life span of clients.
  6. Demonstrate the utilization of the nursing process during medication administration and when providing client health teaching.
  7. Demonstrate clinical judgments that are consistent with client’s health needs and priorities for drug therapy, assessments for adverse reactions and interactions and the potential risk for client safety.
8.   Demonstrate accurate, clear and concise documentation of medication administration and                     the appropriate client assessment receiving drug pharmacological therapy.

CNO Entry to Practice Competencies (identified in subject outline and weekly course objectives)

 Demonstrates knowledge in critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
 Demonstrates knowledge in nursing, health and social science
 Promotes clients’ rights and responsibilities by: a) client consent prior to initializing nursing care.
 Promotes client’s rights and responsibilities by: b) Protecting clients’ rights by respecting confidentiality, privacy, dignity and self-determination as part of the plan of care.
 Demonstrates knowledge of the determinants of health.
Advocates for clients’ rights.
 Develops a plan to incorporate critical thinking and problem-solving skills into all aspects of care.
 Identifies potential health problems or issues and their consequences for clients.
 Maintains clear, concise, accurate and timely records of client’s care.
 Considers the determinants of health into all aspects of care.
 Identifies the effects on one’s values, beliefs, and personal experiences on the therapeutic nurse-client relationship.
Understands the ethical framework of the therapeutic nurse-client relationship.
 Demonstrates knowledge of the distinction between ethical responsibilities and legal rights and their relevance when providing nursing care.
 Demonstrates knowledge of informed consent as it applies in multiple contexts.
 Respects and preserves clients’ rights based on a code of ethics or ethical framework (for example, safe, compassionate, competent and ethical care; informed decision-making; dignity; privacy and confidentiality; and being accountable).

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.

All Module 2 subjects

Corequisites: PNH301, PNP301

Topic Outline

  • Pharmacology terminology
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Pharmacodynamics
  • Pharmacotherapeutics
  • Drug Classifications
  • Legalities and nursing responsibilities with drug administration
  • Safety aspects of drug administration.
  • Cultural, ethical, psychosocial and lifespan considerations with drug administration
  • Client and family health teaching.

Mode of Instruction
4 hours per week x 14 weeks = 56 hours
A variety of teaching methods will be used including, but not limited to facilitated cooperative learning, discussion, seminar, tutorial, lecture, simulations/role play, audio/visual, case studies, and independent study.  Select classes may be facilitated via Blackboard in an online format.

Prescribed Texts

Lilley, L. L., Harrington, S., & Snyder, J.S. (2011). Pharmacology for Canadian Health Care Practice (3rd Cdn. Ed). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.ISBN 978-1-927406-68-7

Skidmore-Roth, L Mosby’s 2018 Nursing Drug Reference. (31st ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby ISBN 978-0-323-53192-4

Robert J. Kizior, BS, and Barbara B. Hodgson Saunder’s Nursing Drug Handbook 2018  Elsevier ISBN9780323525091

Required Supplies
A basic 8-digit calculator.  Basic 8-digit calculators can be used but scientific, programmable electronic devices, cell phones or other non-basic types of calculators are excluded from use on all tests and examinations.

Promotion Policy
A grade of 60% is required for promotion.

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation

Term Test  1 20%
Term Test 2 20%
Term Test 3          20%
Case Study 5%
Final Comprehensive Exam 35%
Total 100%

Dates for evaluations are specified in the weekly schedule addendum to this outline. The evaluation process may include, but is not limited to, tests, exams, assignments or presentations. Any absences or missed submissions due to medical or other reasons must be supported by medical or other appropriate documentation within one (1) week of the due date. Failure to produce documentation within the timeframe will result in a grade of zero in the missed evaluation. The faculty and program area must be notified immediately in the event of a missed evaluation. Upon acceptance of the documentation, the weighting of the missed deliverable will normally be applied to the final exam.

Students must attain a minimum overall mark of 60% in order to pass this subject.  Failure to meet the above will result in a grade of "F".

“A minimum overall term/cumulative GPA of 2.5 is required in order to remain in the Nursing program.”

Expected English Competencies:

Since this is a professional credit subject, marking standards reinforce professional practice by demanding that all written work must demonstrate the following characteristics for clarity and conciseness:
  •     writing is consistent with the rules of English grammar
  •     spelling and punctuation are correct
  •     appropriate vocabulary used
  •     sentences are structured correctly
  •     work to flow logically through supporting statements
  •     work to be arranged in correct format (i.e. reports, essays)

Approved by: Lisa Harfield