The educational preparation of undergraduate nursing students in pharmacology: Perceptions and experiences of lecturers and students

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This paper explores the perceptions and experiences of lecturers and undergraduate nursing students relating to teaching and learning issues in pharmacology. A total of 14 focus group interviews were conducted at 10 university settings, which involved seven academic staff and seven student interviews. The focus group interviewing method was used because it enabled all participants to have 'a say', facilitated the expression of diverse views, and allowed participants to express themselves without fear that their views would be openly criticised. Student participants comprised second and third year undergraduate nurses while lecturer participants involved course coordinators, subject coordinators, and bioscience and nursing lecturers. The 'framework' method was used for data analysis, which involved the following stages: familiarisation, identifying a thematic framework, indexing, charting, and finally, mapping and interpretation. Four major themes emerged from discussions with lecturers and students: teaching considerations, learning considerations, the relationship between pharmacology knowledge and clinical practice, and the features of an 'ideal' programme in pharmacology. The findings highlighted that potential conflicts existed among academic staff relating to the balance of pharmacology and nursing content in curricula, which often led to over-laden curricula. Potential conflicts also existed between lecturers and students about the value placed on a separate pharmacology subject as opposed to an integrated pharmacology programme. In summary, there is still much scope for educational initiatives to improve students' knowledge of pharmacology and medication management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)757-769
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Learning strategies
  • Nursing education
  • Pharmacology knowledge
  • Teaching strategies

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