Authors: Jacqueline Rosenjack Burchum, DNSc, and Laura D. Rosenthal, DNP
Publisher: Elsevier Saunders – 1,414 pages
Book Review by: Laxmi Chaandi

This book has been written for nursing students and practitioners to provide them information  about many of the common drugs being used today for various ailments, disorders, and diseases of the different parts of the body, such as the circulatory, digestive, endocrine, excretory, muscular, nervous, reproductive, respiratory, and skeletal systems, to name some.

The authors write in their Preface that despite the fact that pharmacology pervades all aspects of nursing practice and patient care, many students, and even some teachers, are uncomfortable with it. Why? Because other textbooks have emphasized that in order to learn the effects and uses of drugs, memorization is necessary.

This book takes a different approach: it provides understanding as the means to learning. It has two basic purposes:

  1. To help you, the nursing student, establish a knowledge base in the basic science of drugs
  2. To show you how that knowledge can be applied in clinical practice.

These are the methods Drs. Burchum and Rosenthal use to accomplish the above two purposes:

  • Laying foundations in basic principles
  • Reviewing physiology and pathophysiology
  • Teaching throughout prototypes
  • Using clinical reality to prioritize content
  • Nursing Implications: demonstrating the application of pharmacology in nursing care
  • Providing useful new content in the teaching process
  • Offering learning supplements to students and teaching aids to instructors
  • Showing the different ways to use this textbook

The materials used in the book’s over 1,400 pages are available in 110 chapters organized round 20 chapters which we outline for you below to give you a sort of bird’s eye view. You will also find at the end of this book an Appendix entitled Canadian Drug Information.

  1. Introduction
  2. Basic Principles of Pharmacology
  3. Drug Therapy Across the Life Span
  4. Peripheral  Nervous System Drugs
  5. Central Nervous System Drugs
  6. Drugs That Affect Fluid and Electrolyte Balance
  7. Drugs That Affect the Heart, Blood Vessels, and Blood
  8. Drugs for Endocrine Disorders
  9. Women’s Health
  10. Men’s Health
  11. Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Allergic, and Immunologic Drugs
  12. Drugs for Bone and Joint Disorders
  13. Respiratory Tract Drugs
  14. Gastrointestinal Drugs
  15. Nutrition
  16. Chemotherapy of Infectious Diseases
  17. Chemotherapy of Parasitic Diseases
  18. Cancer Chemotherapy
  19. Miscellaneous Drugs and Therapies
  20. Toxicology

The material laid out in the book’s chapters is organized to facilitate learning, understanding, and retention of the meaning of important concepts, key terms, and properties of drugs. The book uses various teaching aids to make learning easier for you the student. The best way to show you this is to take a look at a chapter.

Chapter 1, Orientation in Pharmacology, provides a shaded area on the top left of its first page that outlines what is covered in the chapter, and what pages. So you will find in that area the following:

  • Four Basic Terms
  • Properties of an Ideal Drug
  • The Therapeutic Objective
  • Factors That Determine the Intensity of Drug Responses
  • Key Points

The discussions of topics are short, making for “easier swallowing” of small bites of information.  And the authors use visual aids such as charts and tables to present data.

Below is a list of special-interest topics that Dr. Lehne developed. They are presented throughout this book, with box and page numbers indicated below.

Box No.  Page   Title

7-1          70      Medication Reconciliation

17-1        151      The EpiPen: Don’t Leave Home Without It

30-1        307      Medication Overuse Headache: Too Much of a Good Thing

32-1        340      Peripartum Depression

34-1        379      Melatonin, Keeper of the Circadian Clock

39-1        424      Smoking Cessation During Pregnancy

48-1        524      Attention: Digoxin May Be Hazardous to Women’s Health

61-1        738      Premenstrual Disorder

62-1        762      Emergency Contraception

65-1        791      Testosterone Replacement: Can It Enhance Sexuality in Men or Women?

78-1        955      Gastro-esophageal   Reflux Disease

81-1        990      The Increasingly Strong Case Against Antioxidants

83-1        1006     Antibiotics in Animal Feed: Dying for a Hamburger and Chicken Nuggets

84-1        1017     Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus

85-1        1031     Clostridium difficile Infection


Jacqueline Lee Rosenjack Burchum, DNSc, FNP-BC, CNE is Associate Professor in the College of Nursing in the Department of Advanced Practice and Doctoral Studies at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee.

Dr. Burchum earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, and both the Masters of Science in Nursing and the Doctor of Nursing Science degree from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

As a nurse practitioner and researcher, her work has centered on addressing the needs of vulnerable populations with a special focus on immigrant and refugee populations. As an educator, she has a special interest in online teaching and program quality.

Laura D. Rosenthal, RN, DNP, ACNP-BC is Associate Professor in the College of Nursing, and Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine, at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver, Colorado.

She has been a registered nurse since graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Michigan in 2000. She completed her Master of Science in Nursing program in 2006 at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She obtained her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in 2011 from the University of Colorado.

Dr. Rosenthal received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2013 from the University of Colorado. She is a member of the Allied Health Committee at the University of Colorado Hospital, and an active member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.



Beth Outland Jones, PharmD is Clinical Pharmacist at Missouri Baptist Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
Joshua J. Neumiller, PharmD, CDE, FASCP is Assistant Professor of Pharmacotherapy at Washington State University in Spokane, Washington.


Valerie O’Toole Baker, RN, MSN, ACNS, BC; Nancy Haugen, PhD, RN; Tiffany Jakubowski, BSN, RN; Marie Lauer-Pfrommer, PhD, APN-C, CNE; Tara McMillan-Queen, RN,MSN, ANP,GNP;  Kathryn Schartz, RN, MSN,CPNP; Allison Terry, PhD, MSN, RN; and Jennifer Yeager, PhD, RN,ANP-BC.