University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Pharmacology for Midwifery Students

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics

DESCRIPTION This study-unit will provide an overview of general pharmacology. Emphasis will be placed on pharmacology with specific regard to patient safety issues with particular reference to drug handling and appropriateness of drug use in midwifery.

The study-unit will cover the general principles underlying drug action; basic pharmacokinetic principles in drug therapy, drug interactions and their clinical relevance, adverse drug reactions and an introduction to pharmacovigilance.

Drug formulation and its relevance to pharmacology will also be discussed. Relevant routes and modes of administration will be covered.

Drug administration errors and systems on minimisation of administration errors will be addressed.

Throughout the study-unit issues related to drug-related problems and drug misadventure will be discussed. Major drug classes will be discussed with special consideration to drugs commonly encountered in midwifery.

Study-unit Aims:

i. To provide midwifery students with a basic understanding of the principles underlying the therapeutic action of drugs.
ii. To give midwifery students a general introduction to pharmacokinetics i.e. the determinants of the time course of the drug in the body, applying pharmacokinetic principles in order to monitor rational drug therapy.
iii. To provide midwifery students with an understanding of drug formulation and routes of administration.
iv. To provide students with the ability of detecting drug-related problems.
v. To introduce the importance of pharmacovigilance and ADR reporting.
vi. To understand the basic principles governing drug use.
vii. To familiarise students with drug administration.
viii. To create instill in students the importance of patient safety in relation to drug use.
ix. To be familiar with common drug administration errors.
vii. To have an appreciation of the pharmacology of common drug classes.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. Know the basic principles of drug action;
2. List the molecular mode of action of drugs;
3. Have sufficient knowledge to predict the effects of commonly used drugs;
4. Have sufficient knowledge to detect drug-related problems;
5. Comprehend the fundamental concepts of pharmacovigilance;
6. Know the differences between the various drug formulations and their pharmacological and clinical relevance;
7. Have sufficient knowledge to appreciate the effect of drug administration errors;
8. Fully appreciate the importance of patient safety in terms of drug use.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. Apply the basic principles of drug action;
2.Apply knowledge of the molecular mode of action of drugs to specific clinical scenarios;
2. Apply basic pharmacological principles in clinical monitoring of patient's drug therapy;
3. Predict the drug response of commonly used drugs;
4. Manage a drug related problem appropriately;
5. Engage in ADR reporting;
6. Avoid common pitfalls in drug administration;
7. Adopt a drug safety culture.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:
(availability at the Library or otherwise is indicated)

Aschenbrenner D, Venable S. Drug Therapy in Nursing; Walters Kluwer. Third Edition. 2009. ISBN 13:978-0-7817-6587-9.

Karch AM. Lipponcott's Drug Guide; Walters Kluwer. 2008 ISBN -13: 978-1-60913-273-8.

British National Formulary. Pharmaceutical Press. 2011 (in library).

Humphrey P. Rang HP, Dale MM, Ritter JM, Flower R. Rang & Dale's Pharmacology. Churchill Livingstone. 2011 6th Ed. (in library).

Bennett PN, Brown MJ. Clinical Pharmacology. Churchill Livingstone. 10th Ed. 2009 (in library).

Jordan S. Pharmacology for midwives; the evidence base for safe practice. second edition. 2010. Macmillian. ISBN 3:978-0-230-21558-0.

Study Aids

Dale, Dickenson and Haylett. Companion to Pharmacology. Churchill Livingstone. 2009.

Harvey Champ. Pharmacology - Lippincott’s Illustrated Reviews. 2009. Lippincott-Raven. (in library).

Reid, JL, Rubin, PC, Whiting B. Lecture notes on Clinical Pharmacology. 2006.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) Yes 100%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.

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