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EMS Education Tips

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EMS Education Tips

Everyday EMS
by Greg Friese

Pharmacology Study Tips

When I have a paramedic student riding with me, the first thing I ask them to do is check the inventory in the drug box. These are the tips I share with students to improve and increase their pharmacology knowledge.

1. As you check each drug, pause and think about its indications, contraindications, dosing, delivery route(s), and side effects.

2. For at least one drug per shift, look up the drug in a drug guide (this is my favorite drug guide reference). Study the drug's mechanism of action.

3. Create a set of drug flash cards that goes deeper than simply listing the details of the drug you find in a drug reference book. Instead write flash cards that are about patient problems on one side of the card and on the other side list all the treatments, including drugs, for the problem.

4. Only use mnemonics (memory aids) if they work for you. Sometimes remembering long mnemonics is more complex than just remembering the information. Do what works for you, not what everyone else is doing or what other people suggest you should do.

Read my favorite column, Drug Whys. In each column, Mike McEvoy thoroughly reviews a drug. In my opinion, reading every Drug Whys column should be required for any paramedic student.

About the author

Greg Friese is Editor-in-Chief of He is an educator, author, paramedic, and marathon runner. Ask questions or submit tip ideas to Greg by e-mailing him at
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Lauren Hyde Wilson Lauren Hyde Wilson Wednesday, March 27, 2013 4:47:09 AM Thank you. I had a preceptor that had me check the inventory with him and it helps.