In this unit students will develop an understanding of the following: principles of quality use of medicines (QUM); classification and regulatory status of medicines; general pharmacology concepts; indications and contraindications, effectiveness and safety of selected classes of medicines; valid and reliable sources of information about selected medicines and their use, as well as relevant government policies and guidelines.
Students will gain the ability to access, interpret and critically appraise evidence about different aspects of treatments and medicines in order to inform their clinical decision making.

Unit details

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Investigate and appraise the development, testing, approval, scheduling and subsidy processes for drugs used and sold in Australia;  
  2. Conceptually map the basic methods of drug action and of pharmacological concepts such as pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics;  
  3. Elicit and document a medicine's history;  
  4. Analyse the main classes and practical uses of drugs, herbals and supplements, commonly encountered in clinical practice; and  
  5. Critically apply pharmaceutical knowledge in advising patients about medication issues according to contemporary and emerging evidence.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Report Critique of a selected journal paper (750 words) 25%
Case Study Case study analysis and response (1000 words) 25%
Test Student generated questionnaire (500 words) 25%
Journal Reflective piece on the completed tasks and their relationship to future practice (750 words) 25%
90% attendance is required at tutorial, practical and workshop classes in the osteopathic program. The tutorial activities in this unit are interactive and students are able to seek feedback from the tutor on meeting the learning outcomes and planning for assessment tasks. Further, students develop a portfolio (4 assessment tasks combined) in this unit and tutorial activities are critical in the development of the portfolio. The portfolio of assessments includes one hurdle task: Assessment Item 4, Journal, Reflective piece on the completed tasks and their relationship to future practice (750 words). This item is a hurdle requirement as it is essential students are able to reflect at this stage in their osteopathic program (close to graduation).

Required reading

Fundamentals of Pharmacology 7th ed.
Bullock, S., Manias, E. (2014)

Pharmacology for health professionals 4th ed.
Bryant, B. & Knights, K. (2012)
Mosby Australia

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