Just the other day I finished what I considered to be one of the most challenging classes of second year: Pharmacology/Toxicology. While this semester’s course load is extremely heavy, I have to say that I struggled the most with studying for Pharm.
When I first started the course, I was intrigued to learn about some of the drug names I had become accustomed to hearing throughout my time working in veterinary clinics or that were prescribed for my own medical maladies. I remember being infatuated with mechanisms of actions of antibiotics, while bored to tears about thiazide diuretics. I will say, however, that I consider it a major accomplishment I was able to even remember that a “thiazide diuretic” was “something” just now without having to consult my notes for a clever reference.
The course was organized relatively similarly to other classes, in that four exams were spread evenly through the material. The first three exams focused on the pharmacologic aspects of treating diseases, while the last exam focused more on principles of toxicology.
As one might imagine, studying for pharmacology can prove to be somewhat daunting. There are scores of drugs to memorize (or in the case of the last exam, toxins), in addition to how they work, where they work, when they work, and why they work. Memorizing the generic name and trying to relate it to a brand name that I was used to was the most difficult. For example, I could always remember what Pepto-Bismol looks like and what it is used to treat, but remembering that bismuth subsalicylate is the active ingredient was not always easy. Additionally, the final exam included a section of toxic plant identification on top of the standard multiple-choice questions, adding an entirely new dynamic to the course.
Although the Pharmacology course was difficult to study for, I have to say that I feel as though I gained more practical knowledge from it than from any other class thus far.