Course Outline

NUR231 Drug Therapy

Course Coordinator:Lisa Chen ( School:School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine

2022Semester 1

USC Sunshine Coast

USC Moreton Bay

USC Caboolture

USC Fraser Coast

USC Gympie

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.

Please go to the USC website for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


This course introduces you to basic pathophysiology and fundamental principles of pharmacology in order to understand how drugs work and interact with the human body. This course is crucial in promoting safe medication administration, reducing harm and promoting the Quality Use of Medicines because nurses and midwives care for patients receiving complex medication regimes. You will be able to know and apply professional, ethical and legal codes and standards to decision making and practice in medication administration.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Learning materials – Online asynchronous learning and teaching recording. 1hr Week 1 9 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – On campus tutorial 3hrs Week 1 9 times

Course Topics

  • Pathophysiology and drug action
  • Pharmacology and drug reactions in the human body
  • Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics
  • Application of pharmacological principles to Quality Use of Medicines (QUM)
  • Person centred approach to decision-making and safe medication practice
  • Professional, codes and standards of practice in safe medication administration including:
    • Australian National Strategy for the Quality Use of Medicines
    • National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards
    • National Competency Standards for the Registered Midwife
    • Registered Nurse Standards for Practice

What level is this course?

200 Level (Developing)

Building on and expanding the scope of introductory knowledge and skills, developing breadth or depth and applying knowledge and skills in a new context. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally, undertaken in the second or third full-time year of an undergraduate programs.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Mapping Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming... Professional Standard Mapping * Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
1 Synthesise and apply knowledge of pathophysiology, pharmacotherapeutics and the quality use of medicines to inform clinical decision-making and safe medication practice. Knowledgeable
1.1, 2.7, 6
2 Know and apply professional, ethical and legal codes and standards to clinical decision-making and practice for safe medication administration. Knowledgeable
1, 1.1, 1.4, 1.5, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5
3 Use pharmacological resources and interpret reliable clinical evidence to inform sound clinical decision-making. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
1, 1.1, 1.4
4 Demonstrate the principles of equity, self-determination, rights and access for individuals and groups through the provision of patient-centred information about medication treatment options, benefits and associated risks. Creative and critical thinker
1.3, 2, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.2, 3.7

* Competencies by Professional Body

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
1 Standard 1: Thinks critically and analyses nursing practice
1.1 The RN accesses, analyses, and uses the best available evidence, that includes research findings for safe quality practice
1.3 The RN 1.3 respects all cultures and experiences, which includes responding to the role of family and community that underpin the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and people of other cultures
1.4 The RN complies with legislation, common law, policies, guidelines and other standards or requirements relevant to the context of practice when making decisions
1.5 The RN uses ethical frameworks when making decisions
2 Standard 2: Engages in therapeutic and professional relationships
2.2 The RN communicates effectively, and is respectful of a person’s dignity, culture, values, beliefs and rights
2.3 The RN recognises that people are the experts in the experience of their life
2.4 The RN provides support and directs people to resources to optimise health related decisions
2.7 The RN actively fosters a culture of safety and learning that includes engaging with health professionals and others, to share knowledge and practice that supports person-centred care
3.2 The RN provides the information and education required to enhance people’s control over health
3.7 The RN identifies and promotes the integral role of nursing practice and the profession in influencing better health outcomes for people
6 Standard 6: Provides safe, appropriate and responsive quality nursing practice
6.3 The RN appropriately delegates aspects of practice to enrolled nurses and others, according to enrolled nurse’s scope of practice or others’ clinical or non- clinical roles
6.4 The RN provides effective timely direction and supervision to ensure that delegated practice is safe and correct
6.5 The RN practises in accordance with relevant nursing and health guidelines, standards, regulations and legislation

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the USC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


NUR141 or NUR116 or HLT132 and LFS103 or HLT100 and enrolled in Program SC391, SC392, SC393


Not applicable



Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

You will need background knowledge of how the body functions normally (Introductory Bioscience or Anatomy and Physiology) in addition to an introduction to nursing assessment and nursing care of a person with altered physiology.

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

Early assessment is offered in week 3 to provide you with the opportunity for feedback on your academic progress, including identifying the need for additional support. The task is not a substantial assessment and is weighted at 20%.

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Quiz/zes Individual 20%
30 MCQ
Week 3 Online Test (Quiz)
All 2 Case Study Individual 40%
1,500 words
Week 6 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 3 Written Piece Individual 40%
1,500 words
Week 9 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All - Assessment Task 1:Online quiz
The goal of the online quiz is to apply your knowledge of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and pathophysiology concepts introduced in the first 2 weeks of the course.
Product: Quiz/zes
Online quiz
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Application of pathophysiology, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic concepts.
All - Assessment Task 2:Case Study
The goal of this task is to use and interpret reliable pharmacological resources and clinical evidence to inform sound clinical decision making. You will synthesise and apply knowledge of pharmacotherapeutics and the quality use of medicines to safe medication practice and consider the professional, ethical and legal codes, and practice standards relevant to decision-making and medication safety.
Product: Case Study
Written paper
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Application of pharmacotherapeutics and Quality Use of Medicines to  clinical decision-making and safe medication administration in relation to the case study.
Application of Nursing or Midwifery codes and standards to underpin decision making and safe medication practice.
Use and interpretation of reliable pharmacologic sources and clinical evidence to inform clinical decision-making
All - Assessment Task 3:Written Piece
Comprises 2 parts: Part A - The goal is to provide professional focused information on a medication. Part B - the goal is to provide person-centred information on a medication.  As a nurse or midwife, you will be required to interpret and use pharmacotherapeutic information and reliable clinical evidence to support your colleagues, patients or the pregnant woman in the quality use of medicines. You will interpret and use evidence to inform safe and comprehensive practice when designing professional focused and person-centred medication information.
Product: Written Piece
Written paper
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Synthesise and apply knowledge of pharmacotherapeutics and the Quality Use of Medicines to inform clinical decision making  and safe medication practice
Application of Nursing or Midwifery codes and standards to decision-making and safe medication practice
Use and interpret reliable pharmacological information sources
Demonstrate social justice principles in the provision of medication information to individuals and groups.

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Directed study hours may vary by location. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

Please note that you need to have regular access to the resource(s) listed below. Resources may be required or recommended.

Required? Author Year Title Edition Publisher
Required Bryant, B & Knights, K 2019 Pharmacology for Health Professionals 5th edn n/a

Specific requirements

Not applicable

How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct.

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


USC is committed to a culture of respect and providing a safe and supportive environment for all members of our community. For immediate assistance on campus contact SafeUSC by phone: 07 5430 1168 or using the SafeZone app. For general enquires contact the SafeUSC team by phone 07 5456 3864 or email

The SafeUSC Specialist Service is a Student Wellbeing service that provides free and confidential support to students who may have experienced or observed behaviour that could cause fear, offence or trauma. To contact the service call 07 5430 1226 or email

Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

Wellbeing Services

Student Wellbeing provide free and confidential counselling on a wide range of personal, academic, social and psychological matters, to foster positive mental health and wellbeing for your academic success.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 1226.

AccessAbility Services

Ability Advisers ensure equal access to all aspects of university life. If your studies are affected by a disability, learning disorder mental health issue, injury or illness, or you are a primary carer for someone with a disability or who is considered frail and aged, AccessAbility Services can provide access to appropriate reasonable adjustments and practical advice about the support and facilities available to you throughout the University.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Administration of Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Academic Misconduct
  • Students with a Disability

Visit the USC website:

Student Charter

USC is committed to excellence in teaching, research and engagement in an environment that is inclusive, inspiring, safe and respectful. The Student Charter sets out what students can expect from the University, and what in turn is expected of students, to achieve these outcomes.

General Enquiries

  • In person:
    • USC Sunshine Coast - Student Central, Ground Floor, Building C, 90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs
    • USC Moreton Bay - Service Centre, Ground Floor, Foundation Building, Gympie Road, Petrie
    • USC SouthBank - Student Central, Building A4 (SW1), 52 Merivale Street, South Brisbane
    • USC Gympie - Student Central, 71 Cartwright Road, Gympie
    • USC Fraser Coast - Student Central, Student Central, Building A, 161 Old Maryborough Rd, Hervey Bay
    • USC Caboolture - Student Central, Level 1 Building J, Cnr Manley and Tallon Street, Caboolture
  • Tel:+61 7 5430 2890