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Medicines: General Update for all Nurses

  • : Launceston TAS 7250


2 Day Seminar: Routes of Administration; Absorption, Metabolism and Excretion; Safe Dosages; Medication Calculations; Important Classes of Medicines and more ...


As medicines are one of the highest areas of risk for all nurses, it is essential that you regularly update your knowledge on this key professional area. This is a vital refresher course that reviews how modern drugs work in the body, dosage considerations and best practice for the safe and accurate administration of medicines. Initially, there will be a revision of key concepts, such as the way in which drugs are metabolised. Other topics focus on the safe administration and storage of drugs, and specific groups of drugs will be examined including analgesics, antibiotics and sedatives. This program aims to give you a good general 'top-up' of information across the breadth of medicines and related topics, adding confidence to your practice. Don't miss this invaluable opportunity to improve your knowledge about medications and remain safe in your professional area of care. If you have identified a professional need to improve your understanding of medications as part of your planned learning activities, then this program will offer you an opportunity to gain continuing professional development (CPD) hours related to this topic

Need for Program

The administration of medicines is one of the riskiest areas of nursing practice. As more is found out about current medicines and as new medicines enter the healthcare system, nurses need access to regular evidence-based education about their appropriate use. Nurses need medication education that brings them up to date quickly and effectively, ensuring they remain safe in their professional areas of care.

Purpose of Program

The purpose of this seminar is to offer registered nurses an opportunity to refresh their knowledge about medicines used in Australia. It will offer a forum to discuss best practice issues in regard to the use of medicines. This is a vital course that addresses common and important learning needs including the key concepts in metabolism of medicines, safe administration and storage of medicines, and practical information on specific drug groups such as analgesics and antibiotics. This seminar is for all nurses who have not had a formal update in medicines education in the past 18 months.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this program it is expected that the participants will be able to:

  • Appraise sources of information on medicines, and explain to a student nurse or colleague how to identify high quality sources of information and why it is essential to use the latest edition of a text or reference
  • Analyse key concepts in pharmacology, such as why the metabolism of a drug differs between individuals and how this relates to the ‘half-life’ of a drug
  • Discriminate and explain the differences between an adverse drug reaction and a common side effect
  • Examine side effects for the most commonly used medicines, including NSAIDs, antibiotics, and complementary medicines
  • Schedule Day One

    8:30am - Registration and Refreshments


    Medicines in Context

    This session will look at the principles of prescribing, how the quality supply of medicines is maintained and the appropriate administration of medicines.

    • What is, and what is not considered a 'drug'
    • What is the role of the prescriber, dispenser and nurse?
    • What are the key differences in these roles?
    • Introducing the National Treatment Guidelines


    Medicines In and Medicines Out-What you must know

    This session looks at absorption and distribution of drugs in the body, and how they are metabolised and excreted. You will gain an understanding of why this is essential knowledge for anyone administering medicines, and how each impacts on clinical practice.

    Absorption and Distribution:

    • Getting a drug into the body and to the various organs, why does drug absorption matter?
    • What is the concentration gradient?
    • How does a drug get to its intended site of action?
    • Which tissues receive higher drug concentrations and why?
    • What is meant by 'steady state' and why is it important?
    • Is protein binding important and if so, why?


    • Where does drug metabolism usually occur?
    • Why is it important to understand drug metabolism?
    • What are causes of some of the most serious drug to drug interactions?


    • Which organ is the most important route of drug excretion?
    • Which drugs are activated after further metabolism?
    • 'Half-life' – what does it mean?

    10:30am - Morning Tea and Coffee


    Getting Medicines to where they need to works

    This session will review the different routes of administration and delivery systems including:

    • Intravenous, intramuscular and subcutaneous injections
    • Oral medicines including tablets and capsules
    • Topical medicines including patches and creams, ointments and gels
    • Vaginal and rectal administration including suppositories and pessaries
    • Implants and other delivery systems
    • Inhalations
    • Powders


    Doses Important Considerations

    Ensuring the right dose is important in patient safety, so why are different doses suitable for different people?

    • What are the issues to consider in drug dose decisions?
    • Why is this so important when administering medicines?
    • A special look at paediatric and geriatric dosing
    • Review of basic principles of calculations

    1:00pm - Lunch Break and Networking


    Maintaining Safe Practice – Problems and Common Concerns

    Safety issues in relation to medicines are diverse, and often poorly understood. This session will look at:

    • The differences between common side effects and adverse drug reactions
    • How overdoses occur and why
    • Drug interactions
    • Poly-pharmacy and the appropriate use of medicines, including problems connected with multi-drug prescribing
    • The role of outside pharmacy consultations in residential aged care facilities
    • Home medication reviews (HMRs)

    3:00pm - Afternoon Tea and Coffee



    This final session of the day will look at the different types of commonly prescribed analgesics and cover:

    • How an analgesic is selected?
    • What are the pharmaceutical groups of analgesics?
    • When are NSAIDs indicated?
    • The use of opiates

    4:15pm - Close of Day One of Program

    Day Two

    9:00am - Commencement of Day Two


    Finding Credible Information About Drugs

    This session examines an evidence-based approach to the selection and use of medicines, and explains how to analyse the large amount of information available. What are the most reliable and up to date sources and how do you assess their credibility?

    • National Treatment Guidelines
    • National formulary
    • Other resources
    • Engaging with evidence

    10:30am - Morning Tea and Coffee


    Other Important Drug Groups - Session One

    The first of two sessions that briefly looks at a range of drug groups and points out essential considerations for nurses. It will give you an opportunity to question the presenter to ensure you fully understand issues relating to these medicines. 
    The drug groups included in these sessions are:

    • Sedatives and antihistamines
    • Gastroenterology medicines
    • Genitourinary medicines
    • Respiratory medicines
    • Cardiovascular medicines
    • Haematology medicines
    • Hormones used therapeutically

    12:30pm - Lunch Break and Networking


    Antibiotics – Use and Abuse

    This session focuses on one common drug group that you will encounter commonly in your nursing practice – antibiotics – and their use in all aspects of health care.

    • How are antibiotics selected and administered?
    • The empirical use of antibiotics
    • How is antibiotic use best monitored?
    • Issues relating to dose forms and antibiotic regimens
    • Concerns and cautions


    Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAMs)

    These medicines are widely used in Australia and are not without risk, this session looks at:

    • Issues and risks of CAMs
    • How to find information and evidence about their effective use and risks

    3:00pm - Afternoon Tea and Coffee


    Other Important Drug Groups – Session Two

    The second of two sessions that briefly look at a range of drug groups and point out essential considerations for nurses. There will be further opportunity to question the presenter to ensure you fully understand issues relating to these medicines. 
    The drug groups included in these sessions are:

    • Sedatives and antihistamines
    • Gastroenterology medicines
    • Genitourinary medicines
    • Respiratory medicines
    • Cardiovascular medicines
    • Haematology medicines
    • Hormones used therapeutically

    4:15pm - Close of Seminar and Evaluations


    Greg Duncan

    Greg Duncan

    Greg Duncan is a pharmacist with an academic and practice background, including a strong focus on generating and using evidence. He teaches and practices in a multi-disciplinary context and is involved with pharmacy, medical and nursing education at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Greg has a special interest and expertise in evidence-based decision making in clinical settings. He developed and led programs improving the ways people use medicines both in Australia and also internationally, where he has worked on WHO projects for implementation of new global strategies for medicines' supply and use. Greg is currently employed as a Senior Research Fellow at Eastern Health Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University.

    Kay Stewart

    Kay Stewart

    Kay Stewart holds an adjunct position in the Centre for Medicine Use and Safety at Monash University. She has over forty years experience as a pharmacist, in both community pharmacy and academia. She qualified as a pharmacist at the University of Queensland and later obtained her PhD at the same institution. On moving to Victoria in the early 90s, she joined Monash University.

Medicines: General Update for all Nurses
Speciality Classification
Provider Type
11 hours 15 mins
Start Date
End Date
11 hours 15 mins
Price Details
Launceston TAS 7250
Mercure Hotel Brisbane, 85-87 North Quay
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