University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Psychopharmacology for Nurses

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics

DESCRIPTION This study-unit covers concepts in neuro and psychopharmacology for mental health nursing students. It will include an introduction to the study of General Pharmacology and cover basic concepts in pharmacokinetic principles in drug therapy. It will also give an overview of the main classes of drugs used in mental health nursing, their indications, mode of action and adverse reactions; effects of these drugs in special populations as well as drugs of abuse.

Study-unit Aims:

This study-unit serves to provide a sound understanding of the principles:
- underlying pharmacological concepts,
- the therapeutic action of drugs used in psychopharmacology in the various phases of drug action,
- consideration of specific drug classes in psychopharmacology,
- aspects of drug abuse.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Apply the basic principles used in general pharmacology to psychopharmacology.
- Predict the effects of drugs used in psychopharmacology in specific populations eg adverse drug effects, iatrogenic effects and drug interactions.
- Have a knowledge of the mode of action of drugs used in psychopharmacology.
- Assess potential side effects of these drugs in psychopharmacology.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Apply knowledge of the of action of drugs to specific clinical scenarios in psychopharmacology.
- Apply basic pharmacological and pharmacokinetic principles in prescribing decisions.
- Predict interpatient variability with respect to drug response.
- Explain the selection of differing drug therapies for the individual patient.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main texts:

• Humphrey P. Rang HP, Dale MM, Ritter JM, Flower R. Rang & Dale's Pharmacology. Churchill Livingstone. 6th Ed.
• British National Formulary. Pharmaceutical Press.

Lecture notes
• Reid JL, Rubin PC, Walters MW. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (Lecture Notes). Blackwell. 7th Ed.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (1 Hour) Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Janet Mifsud (Co-ord.)
Charles Scerri

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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