Pharmacology is one of the most challenging and dynamic subjects for professional nurses. Each month new drugs are being introduced, and new indications are continually being developed for existing medications. Some medications that were considered drugs of choice only a decade ago are now rarely prescribed. Current knowledge of drug actions, mechanisms, interactions, and legislation is mandatory for nurses to provide safe and effective patient care in all health care settings. Pharmacotherapeutics remains a critical and ever-changing component of patient care.
The subtitle of this text, Connections to Nursing Practice, has guided its development. At a fundamental level, pharmacology is a series of interrelated essential concepts. Some key concepts are borrowed from, or shared with, the natural and applied sciences. Prediction of drug action requires a thorough knowledge of anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and pathology as well as the social sciences of psychology and sociology. This interdisciplinary nature of pharmacology makes the subject difficult to learn but fascinating to study.
However, the discipline of pharmacology is far more than a collection of isolated facts. To effectively learn this discipline, the student must make connections to nursing practice and, ultimately, connections to patient care. Patients expect to receive effective and safe medication administration from a nurse who is competent in the study of pharmacology. Pharmacology: Connections to Nursing Practice identifies key pharmacologic concepts and mechanisms and clearly connects them to current nursing theory and practice for providing optimal patient care.
Pharmacology: Connections to Nursing Practice recognizes that pharmacology is not an academic discipline to be learned for its own sake but is a critical tool to prevent disease and promote healing. This connection to patients, their assessment, diagnoses, and interventions supports basic nursing practice. Like other core nursing subjects, the focus of pharmacology must be to teach and promote wellness for patients.