What Role Does Chemistry Play In Nursing Practice & Medication Management?

What Role Does Chemistry Play In Nursing Practice & Medication Management?
What Role Does Chemistry Play In Nursing Practice & Medication Management?

As a nursing student, you’ll be surprised to learn just how much the science of chemistry influences and impacts the practice of your craft. 

Suppose you’re completing one of the many accredited postgraduate nursing certificates on your road to becoming a nursing practitioner, for instance. In that case, you’ll find that part of your key learning outcomes cover some essential chemistry basics. And you might be wondering why. 

More to the point, what is the link between chemistry and nursing? And how can having chemistry knowledge assist with your nursing duties – specifically, in terms of medication management? Stay with us as we explore this in greater detail.  


Chemistry is More than Chemicals

So what is chemistry? And why is it even relevant to nursing? 

Chemistry is an area of scientific research that analyzes, evaluates, and identifies the chemical makeup of different substances. In addition to this, it looks at how the properties of these substances can change when they are exposed to a variety of different chemical factors. Observing the chemical process of fermentation, for instance, is an early example of chemistry. 


So what is the link between chemistry and nursing? In nursing practice, chemistry is mostly used around the administering of pharmaceutical medicines to patients. In this way, chemistry plays an essential role in nursing practice, especially in terms of assisting with drug delivery. But importantly, there’s more to it than this. 

How does chemistry relate to nursing? Having some form of chemistry knowledge can help nurses perform their duties more effectively. It also enables them to have a deeper understanding of the treatments they are delivering to patients. 


It’s important to note here that the substances chemistry deals with are often referred to as chemical compounds. You may have heard of compounding, in the pharmaceutical sense. 

The practice of pharmaceutical compounding draws on chemistry theories to create customized doses of medication. As a nurse, it is vital to have an understanding of how compounding works to be able to accurately administer medications to patients in the correct doses. 


As well as this, possessing chemistry knowledge as a nursing practitioner can also help with:

  • Being able to identify the chemical makeup of medicines 
  • Understanding how drugs interact with the chemicals of the body 
  • How to most effectively use sanitizing chemicals to avoid infection
  • The effects of anesthetic chemicals and how they help with pain management
  • How specific drugs and medicines help with the chemical process of wound healing
  • Having an understanding of chemotherapy and how it can assist with cancer treatment

Pharmaceutical knowledge, as such, can assist you immensely on your road to being a competent nursing practitioner. 


Medication Management: How Can Chemistry Knowledge Assist Nurses?

When it comes to managing medications, chemistry knowledge can help nurses premeditate the effects certain medicines will have in terms of achieving positive patient outcomes. This knowledge also helps nurses identify which drugs to deliver in specific scenarios, and also, how these medicines can help heal the patient in question. 

But there’s more to it than this. As a nurse, having a solid understanding of the chemical makeup of medicines can help you better predict how combinations of medications will work together to alleviate patients’ symptoms. It can also assist in identifying which drugs to avoid combining – helping eliminate the risk of potentially dangerous patient reactions or side effects. To put it bluntly, if you don’t know your chemicals, you could be putting your patients at risk. Most importantly, you need to have an accurate understanding of what doses to deliver. Some medications need to be diluted, and others, administered at full strength. Without this understanding, again, you could be risking patients’ lives. 


As a nursing practitioner, the lives of your patients are quite literally in your hands. You need to know what you’re doing, particularly when it comes to delivering drug doses and managing medications. Some of these medicines are strong. As such, you need to have an understanding of what chemicals you are dealing with to be able to administer them safely, and without risk to your patients.

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