7 - 9 Nov 2021

Medicines: Improve Your Knowledge Seminar

11h 30m
QRC: 4199
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Why Attend

Medicines are one of the highest risk areas of practice for all nurses. This vital update will increase your confidence in:

  • Preventing medicine errors
  • How medicines act and are metabolised
  • Safe administration and storage of medicines
  • Common medicine interactions and side effects
  • Where to look for credible medicine information
  • How to educate patients about their medicines

This seminar is for all nurses who have not had a formal update in medicines education in the past 18 months. Come and “TOP UP” your knowledge!


8:30am - Registration and Refreshments


Medicines in Context

This session describes the place of medicines within the healthcare system and how the quality, supply, and use of medicines are maintained. It discusses:

  • The concept of “essential medicines”, the National Medicines Policy, and the partners involved in its implementation
  • The roles of prescribers, pharmacists, and nurses in implementation
  • Patterns of medicine use in Australia


Medicines In and Medicines Out

This session looks at how the body acts on a medicine and how medicines act on the body. You will gain an understanding of why this is essential knowledge for anyone administering medicines, and how these factors impact on clinical practice. We will look at:

Absorption and Distribution

  • Getting a medicine into the body and to the various organs: why does medicine absorption matter?
  • How does a medicine get to its intended site of action?
  • What factors affect absorption and distribution?


  • Where does medicine metabolism usually occur?
  • Why are some medicines activated after metabolism?
  • What factors affect metabolism?


  • Which organs are important routes of medicine excretion?
  • What factors affect metabolism?

Clinical implications

  • What is the relationship between the effects of a medicine and its concentration in the body?
  • What happens when we dose someone repeatedly with a medicine?
  • Why is clearance rate important?
  • What is meant by “half-life” and why is it important?
  • What is meant by “steady state”?
  • What is meant by “therapeutic index”? How is it relevant to medication safety?
  • What is the effect of a loading dose?
  • How do medicines work?
  • What is the action on receptors or other targets?
  • What are the agonists and antagonists?
  • Why do side effects and medicine–medicine interactions occur?
  • Why do so-called “selective” medicines have effects on other receptor sites?
  • What are adverse medicine reactions and how are they related to medicine dose?

Dosage adjustments

  • Why are different doses required in different circumstances?
  • What are the issues to consider in medicine dosing?
  • Why is this so important when administering medicines?
  • Which groups require special attention and why? e.g. paediatric and geriatric patients

10:30am - Morning Tea


Getting Medicines to Where They Work

This session will review the different dosage forms and routes of administration, including:

  • Oral medicines e.g. tablets and capsules
  • Parenteral administration e.g. Intravenous, intramuscular and subcutaneous injections
  • Transdermal delivery systems
  • Rectal administration
  • Inhaled medicines
  • Nasal administration
  • Ocular administration
  • Topical medicines e.g. patches, creams, ointments



The first of the medicine group sessions will look at commonly prescribed analgesics and cover:

  • Pathophysiology of pain
  • Differentiating between the types of pain
  • Pain assessment
  • Major medicine classes used in the treatment of pain
  • Main practice points for various pain medications
  • How medicines in the various classes exert their action on the body
  • Most common effects and side effects
  • Main practice points for various analgesics

12:30pm - Lunch and Networking


Finding Credible Information about Medicines

This session examines an evidence-based approach to the selection and use of medicines and explains how to analyse the large amount of information available. What are the most reliable and up-to-date sources and how do you assess their credibility? Discuss:

  • National Treatment Guidelines
  • National formulary
  • Other resources
  • Engaging with evidence – taking a structured approach to filling the information gaps we come across in practice

3:00pm - Afternoon Tea


Cardiovascular Medicines

Cardiovascular medicines can be daunting to work with, as the consequences of when things go wrong may be profound. These medicines are often seen as complex and challenging. This session will explore a number of important groups of cardiovascular medicines in common use, including those for:

  • Heart failure
  • Hypertension
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Cardiac Rhythm
  • Dyslipidaemia
  • Other cardiac conditions


Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAMs)

These medicines are widely used in Australia and are not without risk. This session looks at:

  • Issues and risks of CAMs
  • How to find information and evidence about their effective use and risks

4:45pm - Close of Day One of Seminar

9:00am - Commencement of Day Two


Antidepressants and Hypnotics

This session looks at medications for the treatment of depression and insomnia and covers:

  • An overview of depression
  • Major medicine classes used in the treatment of depression
  • How medicines in the various classes exert their action on the body
  • Most common effects and side-effects
  • Main practice points for various antidepressant medications
  • An overview of insomnia
  • Non-medicine approaches to treatment of insomnia
  • Major medicine classes used in the treatment of insomnia
  • Most common effects and side-effects
  • Main practice points for various hypnotics


Medicines for Diabetes

This session looks at medicines for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus and covers:

  • An overview of type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Major medicine classes used in the treatment of diabetes
  • How medicines in the various classes exert their action on the body
  • Most common effects and side effects
  • Main practice points for various antidiabetic medications

10:30am - Morning Tea


Respiratory Medicines

This session will look at medicines for the treatment of chronic respiratory conditions and covers:

  • Pathophysiology of asthma
  • Assessment of asthma control
  • Risk factors and triggers for asthma
  • Approach to asthma control
  • Medicines for asthma and other airways conditions
  • How medicines in the various classes exert their action on the body
  • Most common effects and side effects
  • Main practice points for various respiratory medicines


Gastrointestinal Medicines

This session will follow the framework provided by the Therapeutic Guidelines and AMH, considering issues in therapy for a range of gastrointestinal medicines including:

  • Medicines for dyspepsia, reflux, and peptic ulcers
  • Medicines affecting gastrointestinal motility
  • Antiemetics
  • Laxatives
  • Antidiarrhoeals
  • Medicines for inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Medicines for obesity

12:30pm - Lunch and Networking


Maintaining Safe Practice

This session will introduce and explore the critical issues in modern medicines use, with a focus on quality and safety. The concepts that will be considered and put in the context of what it means for the patient include:

  • Why are different doses suitable for different people?
  • Where do things go wrong? Medication-related problems
  • Where do errors occur?
  • What are the strategies to reduce errors?
  • What are the useful sources of CPD in medication safety?
  • What are the basic principles of calculations?
  • What are the high-risk medications?

Once the problems have been described, an exploration of systems approaches and resources available for healthcare professionals will be presented, including:

  • Polypharmacy and the appropriate use of medicines, including problems connected with multi-medicine prescribing
  • The role of outside pharmacy consultations in residential aged care facilities
  • Home Medication Reviews (HMRs)

3:00pm - Afternoon Tea and Coffee


Antibiotics – Use and Abuse

This session focuses on one common medicine group that you will encounter in your nursing practice – antibiotics – and their use in all aspects of health care. It looks at:

  • How are antibiotics selected and administered?
  • What is the empirical use of antibiotics?
  • How is antibiotic use best monitored?
  • What are the issues relating to dose forms and antibiotic regimens?
  • What are the concerns and cautions?



A brief summary of the two days with a reminder of key points and the resources available to help improve patient care.

4:45pm - Close of Seminar and Evaluations


educator avatar

Greg Duncan

Greg Duncan is a pharmacist with an academic and practice background, including a strong focus on generating and using evidence. He teaches and practices in a multidisciplinary context and is involved with pharmacy, medical and nursing education at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Greg has a special interest and expertise in evidence-based decision making in clinical settings. He has developed and led programs that improve the ways people use medicines both in Australia and also internationally, where he has worked on WHO projects for implementation of new global strategies for medicines' supply and use. Greg is currently employed as a senior research fellow at Eastern Health Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University.

educator avatar

Kay Stewart

Kay Stewart holds an adjunct position in the Centre for Medicine Use and Safety at Monash University. She has over forty years experience as a pharmacist, in both community pharmacy and academia. She qualified as a pharmacist at the University of Queensland and later obtained her PhD at the same institution. On moving to Victoria in the early 90s, she joined Monash University. Kay’s research interests have centred on medication adherence and the potential for community pharmacists to engage in interprofessional care of patients with chronic illnesses e.g. asthma, type II diabetes, hypertension.

Need for Program

The administration of medicines is one of the riskiest areas of nursing practice and requires a thorough understanding of pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. In this context, it is imperative that medicine interactions and unwanted side effects are readily identified. The combination of new and current medicines requires nurses to continually expand their knowledge and that of their patients. The onus for safe and quality practice remains with the professional handling of medicine. It is, therefore, imperative that nurses engage in evidence-based education.

Purpose of Program

The purpose of this seminar is to provide up-to-date, evidence-based knowledge about the safe and quality use of medicines in nursing practice.

Your learning outcomes

  • Analyse key concepts in pharmacology, such as how medicines exert their action, why the body’s handling of a medicine differs between individuals, and how these relate to appropriate dosage
  • Explain the reasons for different dosage forms and the advantages and disadvantages of different routes of administration
  • Source and appraise information about medicines and explain to a student nurse or colleague how to find and identify high-quality sources of information
  • Recognise circumstances that expose patients to medication misadventure and how to avoid them

Medicines: Improve Your Knowledge Seminar in other locations

7 - 9 Nov 2021

Mercure Hotel Brisbane
85-87 North Quay
Brisbane, QLD, 4000

5 - 7 Dec 2021

Holiday Inn Perth City Centre
778-788 Hay Street
Perth, WA, 6000
7 - 9 Nov 2021

Medicines: Improve Your Knowledge Seminar

11h 30m
QRC: 4199
Mercure Hotel Brisbane
Brisbane, QLD, 4000
Price: $559.00