Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Pharmacology and Feeling Sorry:

Well I've felt very sorry for myself this week: I've been sick with a cold and have had to begin cramming ridiculous amounts of pharmacology-related information into my head. I'm not very good at remembering context-less facts and therefore have to come up with ridiculous, totally obtuse mnemonics:

VANcomycin? VANquishes bacteria and therefore has many side effects (nephrotoxicity and ototoxicity)
TETRAmycin? Milk comes in TETRA packs. Don't take tetramycin with milk.
GentiM(Y)icin? "MY MY MY what a drug". This clearly means that gentamicin has three major side effects (one for each "my"): nephtoxicity, ototoxicity and neurotixicity.

This goes on forever. But I honestly find it easier to make up these ridiculous things than to simply remember "Magnesium Sulfate is a CNS depressant." Luckily, nurses don't actually have to know these things. Handy drug books are tucked into nurse's pockets everywhere and usually you become quickly familiar with the most commonly used drugs in your specialty. I'm saying this so no one thinks I'll be a terrible nurse if/when I get a C in pharmacology.

In other news, I feel sorry for everyone who wasn't breast fed. We had a lecture today in our "Nursing the Childbearing Family" by one of our Deans who is a breastfeeding expert. The research demonstrates the benefits of breastfeeding: better infant immune systems, less childhood illnesses, reduced incidence of breast and ovarian cancers for woman who have breastfed, fewer childhood allergies, better intellectual development for breastfed children (and, yes, this study controlled for factors such as educational level of parents, economic resources etc.). The list is a long one. Our Dean also mentioned some new studies which are looking into the relationship between the rise in gastrointestinal ailments (irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux disease are some examples) and bottle feeding. Very interesting, no?

Did you know breast milk changes its consitution throughout a child's infancy: at the beginning it is extremely concentrated and filled with fat and immune-boosting properties (antibodies). After the first couple of weeks, the milk thins out and begins to contain more bacteria to colonize now-protected and primed intestines and colons. Breastmilk continues to remodel as the child grows (we're talking first 6 months-1 year). Amazing stuff, no?

Tomorrow I am going to a downtown hospital to shadow a nurse-midwife for a prenatal clinic. I'm excited to get out of the hospital and see some ambulatory, non-prone women.


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