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NURS416 Nursing - Applied Pharmacology

Covers bioscience and pharmacology informing registered nurse practice. Provides registered nurses with legal, ethical, prescribing and drug administration frameworks as described by the Nursing Council of New Zealand.

This paper covers key aspects of pharmacology, including pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and pharmacotheraputics, with application to clinical practice clearly drawn. Participants have the opportunity to focus particular clinical interests in written assignment work and demonstrate application of pharmacological knowledge in the written examination. The content of the paper addresses selected prescribing competencies for advanced nursing practice as set out by the Nursing Council of New Zealand (NCNZ).

Paper title Nursing - Applied Pharmacology
Paper code NURS416
Subject Nursing
EFTS 0.25
Points 30 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (Distance learning)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $2,903.00
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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NURX 416
Limited to
MAdvNP, MHealSc, PGCertHealSc, PGDipHealSc

The applicant will:

  • Have registration as a nurse from a three-year programme or course, congruent with the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance (HPCA) Act 2003.
  • Hold a current Practising Certificate.
Teaching staff
Convenor: Cate McCall
Paper Structure

The purpose of this paper is to provide registered nurses with a depth of understanding in pharmacology that allows for effective application within clinical practice. This may inform preparations for advanced nursing practice, including roles in which prescribing may be part of that practice.

The paper will provide for learning about key pharmacological concepts essential to clinical practice and related concepts of epidemiology, microbiology, physiology and pathophysiology. Development of academic skills will be supported and evaluated through assessment pieces and congruent with themes identified in other papers within the Master's degree. The content of this paper addresses prescribing competencies for advanced nursing practice as set out by the Nursing Council of New Zealand.

Teaching Arrangements

This Distance Learning paper is a combination of remote and in-person teaching.

Three 2-day study blocks with a further exam day.

View Timetable information.


Course Text:
Bryant, B. & Knights, K., (2015). Pharmacology for Health Professionals (4th ed.). Sydney: Mosby/Elsevier.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Information literacy, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course the student will be able to:

  1. Understand key pharmacological concepts including pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, antimicrobial stewardship, adverse drug reactions and drug interactions.
  2. Integrate concepts of epidemiology, microbiology, physiology and pathophysiology as relevant to pharmacotherapeutics.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to apply current pharmacological information to patient care.
  4. Synthesise knowledge to demonstrate an understanding of drug dosages and regimes, taking into account factors such as ethnicity, body mass, gender and age.
  5. Research and evaluate available pharmacotherapies and demonstrate the ability to make appropriate evidence based decisions.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of pharmacoeconomics and preferential prescribing.
  7. Demonstrate an understanding of relevant patient monitoring including laboratory testing that supports pharmacotherapy, rationale and efficacy.
  8. Demonstrate knowledge of the misuse and abuse potential of drugs.
  9. Examine factors associated with medication errors and near misses.
  10. Demonstrate an ability to integrate legal, ethical and regulatory concepts into clinical practice.
  11. Demonstrate understanding of the legislation related to RN/NP’s prescriptive authority.
  12. Identify opportunities for effective collaboration and interdisciplinary communication for best practice outcomes.

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Drug Framework Assignment 20%
Client based assignment 40%
Exam 40%

Further information

Coordinator Student Experience
University of Otago, Christchurch
PO Box 4345, Christchurch
New Zealand

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system