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So I was shadowing a new PA today and we had a conversation about drugs. I asked her if it was easy for her to memorize all the drugs and medications during PA school and she said it was very difficult. PA students who had jobs as nurses, emt did well in the pharmacology course that she had to take. I asked her if I should take a pharmacology course at a junior college just so I could get the feel of how intense the materials will be if I get into a PA program and she told me it's not necessary unless I want to. Should I enroll in the course? Would it benefit me not only for the PA program but actually getting into a program?

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Notice that the PA you talked to said that the RNs and EMTs did well in pharm, not the people who had taken pharm previously. Don't waste your time taking a pharm course that focuses on things you will probably never need and doesn't cover things that you will, and instead spend that time getting REAL HCE that gives you exposure to the medications that are used most commonly. I didn't struggle with pharm (either in PA school or in paramedic school) because I went into it having heard of 75%+ of the drugs and what they were used for. All I had to do was fill in the rest of the details instead of starting from scratch.

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I took an online pharmacology class before PA school and I think it gave me a real good boost in understanding the basics. So many things we learn in concentric circles--you need to know area X to really understand area Y, and so you end up learning a bit more about X, and then understanding a bit more about Y. The cycle goes on and on.

 

So yes, I DO recommend a pharmacology class before PA school--not to the exclusion of HCE, of course, but as a good adjunct, especially if you're working as a CNA or EMT-B, where very little of your scope of practice involves pharmacology (and no, I don't count writing down a med list on a run sheet as pharmacology).

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I appreciate my pharm course. Of course it wasnt as in-depth as what EMTs and RNs learn (because they are actually tying in conditions with their learning). My basic pharm course was more like: antibiotics are for bacterial infections, some are bacteriacidal while some are bacteriostatic (and what that means), these treat gram - and these treat gram +, these have significant possible side effects and negative reactions with these drugs...we didnt actually cover things like xyz is the best course of treatment for this type of pneumonia vs this type. Then we went on to antivirals, anti fungals etc.

 

I will say if you truly learn the material, not simply memorize....it will make a world of difference when it comes to PA pharm teachings....

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I appreciate my pharm course. Of course it wasnt as in-depth as what EMTs and RNs learn (because they are actually tying in conditions with their learning).

 

I'm sorry, but I wouldn't put what an EMT-B learns about pharmacology on the same page as what an RN learns. The only drugs I learned in my EMT-B training ware ASA, Ntg, and Epi. While they technically are drugs, I don't count O2, glucose, or activated charcoal as pharmacologically interesting.

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I'm sorry, but I wouldn't put what an EMT-B learns about pharmacology on the same page as what an RN learns. The only drugs I learned in my EMT-B training ware ASA, Ntg, and Epi. While they technically are drugs, I don't count O2, glucose, or activated charcoal as pharmacologically interesting.

 

I agree with you rev. I hope they're referring to EMT-P.

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Took a summer online pharm course. If you do end up taking it, DO NOT take a summer course of it. I had to study ~29 chapters in about 2 weeks. I don't think that's possible, but since it was an open-book course I ended up with a B. I think for understanding the basis, taking the course did help but you probably would have to practice and use your knowledge as to not forget them. I had a job as a CMA and it helped more in terms of medicine than the course.

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Thanks for the replies! I just enrolled in a pharmacology course and spoke to the professor regarding my question. She definitely agrees that taking the course will help me in PA school since she knows a lot of PAs who have said that pharmacology was one of the toughest courses they took in the programs. I am actually looking forward to this class..

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