Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit provides nurses with a basic understanding of drug substances and their application to the treatment of disease. Knowledge of a drug's mechanism of action, effects, adverse effects, typical dosing strategies and associated factors are placed in a nursing context. The pharmacotherapy is placed within the Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) framework as well as the legal context. The unit also equips students with practical strategies for accessing drug information by use of case-based learning. It provides students with information regarding medications used to treat patients along with basic pharmacology, physiology and pharmacokinetics associated with the administration of medication. The unit considers the therapeutic needs of specific patient groups (fetal, neonate, child, adult and the elderly).

6 points
AvailabilityLocationModeFirst year of offer
Not available in 2024OnlineOnline-TT

Students are able to (1) identify the basic pharmacological principles of drug action; (2) explain the legal context surrounding the use of drug substances; (3) examine the basic physiological processes of the major body systems and where and how drug substances act; (4) classify and compare the proper use of the most commonly used medications; (5) identify some of the major adverse and side effects of commonly used medications; and (6) illustrate an understanding of how to find out about any drug substance and its proper therapeutic use.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) short answer and case-based questions (60 per cent); (2) ongoing multiple choice questions (MCQ) quiz (10 per cent); and (3) two mid-semester short answer tests (30 per cent). Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Winthrop Professor Marc Tennant
Unit rules
enrolment in
the Master Biomedical Science
or Master Anatomical Sciences
or Master of Health Science
APHB4003 Advanced Experimental Techniques
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
tutorials/case studies: 1 hour per week
online exercise: 39 hours (equivalent to 1 hour per week)
Recommended text

Australian Medicines Handbook, current edn: Australian Medicines Handbook Pty Ltd

Broyles, B. et al. Pharmacology in Nursing, Australian and New Zealand edn: Cengage Learning 2013

Tiziani, A. Harvard's Nursing Guide to Drugs, 8th edn: Mosby Elsevier 2010

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.