Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
OfferedPeninsula First semester 2012 (Day)
Peninsula First semester 2012 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Associate Professor Lisa McKenna


This unit is directed at extending student's knowledge of pharmacology and explores principles covering medication management within advanced nursing practice. The first module seeks to extend students knowledge of fundamental pharmacological principles of medication management which can be adopted and utilized in the advanced practice setting. Students will use the foundational knowledge of pharmokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and therapeutics, in order to critically analyse how medications affect physiological, biochemical and pathophysiological processes. With a greater appreciation of the action of drugs on body processes, students will be able to determine which medications should be administered to particular patients in order to ensure therapeutic effects are optimized and adverse effects are minimized. Students will articulate the key pharmacological characteristics of drug classes, as well as derive an understanding of specific features of individual drugs.
The second module extends students' knowledge of social, political and ethical principles of medication management, and allows the student to explore how these principles are applied in the advanced practice setting. The concepts of pain management, adverse drug reactions and medication use across the lifespan will be considerered. Students will individualise the use of the clinical decision making process as the framework for gathering and organizing medication information, planning, prescribing, administering, documenting and evaluation to suit their own practice needs. Students will extend their knowledge of the learning and teaching strategies for patient education and the government policies that are relevant to nurse prescribing. Commonwealth and State laws affecting the control of medication will also be applied to the advanced practice setting. Students will address the socio-cultural and ethical issues that affect the relationship between the nurse practitioner and patient, and will examine the style and required particulars for written prescriptions. Equipped with this knowledge, students will be expected to critically review the application of clinical pharmacology to their specific area of advanced practice.


On completion of the unit, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Describe fundamental principles of pharmacology;
  2. Describe the processes involved in pharmacokinetics along with factors that influence these processes;
  3. Explain indications, actions, adverse reactions and contraindications for commonly prescribed medication;
  4. Demonstrate clinical decision making ability relating to pharmacology within own specific practice area;
  5. Provide appropriate education for clients based upon individual medication regimes;
  6. Describe medication regimes for discipline-specific clinical conditions in their area of practice;
  7. Critically analyse the implications of medication use across the lifespan;
  8. Describe legal, ethical and professional responsibilities associated with prescription and administration of medications in their jurisdiction;
  9. Critically analyse social and political factors that influence use of medications in their jurisdiction.


Mid-semester on-line examination (20%), End of Semester written examination (50%)(must pass exam to achieve a pass in the unit), Portfolio activities (30%)

Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor Lisa McKenna

Contact hours

3 hour tutorial per week.