Drug therapies are the most widely utilized method of medical therapies and currently the most effective amongst a myriad of other methods of therapies, which include osteopathic medicine, acupuncture, aquatic therapies, yoga and other forms of alternative therapies.
In the management of patients, the job of the clinical pharmacist may not allow him/her have constant observation of the patient/client, with the physician by the side whose job also creates a boundary [prescription, a bit of observation and intervention], that gives them very little insight into what happens to the patient when on drug therapies.
This important responsibility happens to gently fall on the shoulders of the nurse, they are in the best position to detect abnormalities, undertake possible interventions and alert prescribers, who may be a Physician or an NP.
Nurses play a very vital role in the cycle of drug therapies, from assessment to prescription, administration, observation/intervention and psychological support. In these aforementioned phases, the nurses’ role can not be overlooked, they are the ones who are closest to the patient, who is the most important member of the health care team.
Their mandatory proximity gives them a “clinical hedge” over other health providers, especially when it comes to the subject of assessment, observation and health education.
It is therefore of utmost importance that the registered nurse has adequate knowledge about pharmacology [pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics], so as to allow them understand the patient when they are on drug therapies, use their assessment skills to detect early warning signs of drug toxicity, overdose or need for prescription of a new medication or termination of an already existing prescription.
In this category on Care City, we will discuss at length the nurses’ responsibilities during drug therapies, what they must know, how they should assess the patient – identify side effects and adverse effects, their interventions and a host of other Important pharmacological concepts.
I will begin by doing a brief introduction to pharmacology, which will include a brief history, basic terms, maybe some basic calculations and vital aspects of pharmacology, before we now start considering the pharmacological management of disease conditions and the nurses’ responsibilities.
To understand in-depth the effects of a drug on the body, it is also very essential that there is adequate knowledge of anatomy and physiology of the human being and pathology – on this note, I will also include brief anatomy, physiology and pathology.
So I divided the basics. In drug therapies, the following elements are the core of clinical pharmacology:
- The health care providers, which will include primary health care providers, physicians, nurses, medical laboratory scientist and others who make up the health team.
- The patient, whose complex physiology key members of the health team [i.e those directly involved with assessment, prescription and observation/intervention] must fully understand, to enable them to know the appropriate interventions to take when faced with pathological conditions.
- Pathological processes; these are the disruptions to the normal physiology and anatomy of the body due to a host of causes, ranging from microbial causes to physical trauma and psychological pathology.
- The medication in use; the drug used is a very important element in clinical pharmacology, health care providers must be conversant with the therapeutic effects of medication used to render pharmacological care.
These are what I call the core elements of pharmacological therapy, and the nurse must understand these elements.
So, in the next article, I will begin with a brief history of pharmacology [like I said earlier], and some basic stuff, before we get to business proper.
Ayinla Daniel Rn, Rctn.
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