Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Spring 4-22-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Health Sciences

First Advisor

Lisa Cranwell-Bruce



The purpose of this project was to determine if a formal pharmacology course in associate degree nursing (ADN) programs would increase the new graduate registered nurses’ (NGRN’s) knowledge of pharmacology content in an effort to decrease medication errors in practice. Disparities exist among nursing ADN program curriculums and the delivery of pharmacology content. Some ADN programs consist of a formal pharmacology course while others disperse the information throughout the program, often omitting pertinent content for students to apply the basic pharmacology knowledge to patient care. Despite the differences in nursing program curriculum, all NGRNs are expected and held to the same practice standards upon successful completion of the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), and immediately entering the workforce as a nurse.

A 25-question exam was administered to two groups of ADN students using test items from Assessment Technology Institute’s (ATI’s) private reserve test bank. The exam consisted of 20 questions pertaining to basic pharmacology content, 5 dosage calculation questions, and high-risk medications such as; beta blockers, antidiabetic medication, insulin, epinephrine, emergency medications, and anticoagulants.

The pre and post test results revealed a statistically higher difference for the ADN students who received pharmacology content dispersed throughout the 4-semester curriculum than the students who received the majority of pharmacology content within a 2-credit, one semester course. The results of this project were opposite of this author’s hypothesis. The statistical data gained from this study can be implemented in educational practice to elevate the rigor of pharmacology content currently taught within ADN programs that do not offer a formal course.


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