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Hints for writing the pharmacotherapeutics assignment.



Assignment: Word Limit 4000 words


Title: With respect to any ONE pathobiological process of your choice, critically analyse the pharmacotherapeutics of two Medications:

1-    Angiotensin-converting enzymes (lisnopril)

2-    β – Blockers (Carvidalol) in treatment of heart failure


Structuring your assignment


Writing an analytical or critical evaluative piece can be challenging, particularly in certain science-based subjects. The key is knowing how to analyse the material you are writing about rather than just summarising it. That is, the content should be structured into its components or parts, and through the writing, address each component to get a full understanding of its meaning.


An analytical/evaluative/critical essay is not a summary of work or literature already available. For example paraphrasing parts textbooks/journals or retelling a case study is not writing analytically/evaluatively/critically.


Furthermore, merely telling “what” the condition/drugs/case study means to you and your practice, will not achieve the highest levels of academic writing.




The introduction of an analytical essay


The purpose of an introduction is to give a brief explanation of the topic and give the whole piece direction that will be developed in the body. Points to consider and include in the introduction:


  Give key information about the context of the work in the first few sentences. Is it based on a case study (if so give patient background)? If it is a general discussion about drugs then name the drugs and what they are commonly prescribed for.


   Lead logically into your involvement with the drugs/condition – for a case study, outline your professional contact with the patient; in a general discussion of drugs indicate if you have worked with them and in what context. You should conclude this part of the introduction with a claim or assertion


which is your “thesis statement” (i.e. this statement should contain the focus of your essay which tells


your reader what the essay is going to be about).


  Include “direction sentences” which will explain to the reader how you will defend and support your writing by explaining the parts of the work and their relationship to the whole work.


  The thesis statement should be long enough to give the reader confidence and direction on where


your writing is going. This may be eight to ten sentences.




The body of an analytical essay


The points presented in the thesis statement will be expanded and argued in the body of the paper. Make an outline using the direction sentences to be sure the body develops all the points mentioned in the introduction.


   Take each point mentioned in the directional sentences and develop it into a topic sentence. This topic sentence will be the main idea around which the body paragraph should be constructed.


   Use supporting points (at least four or five) to underscore the main focus in this paragraph. Use quotes and brief paraphrasing from literature and other reputable sources to further support the point. Use appropriate referencing.


  Conclude with a sentence that summarises the discussion of each point and do not return to discuss it again until the conclusion.



The conclusion of an analytical essay


Once all the points are made and evaluated or critiqued then they must be linked back to the thesis statement. The purpose of a conclusion is to stress the rationale for the argument and to summarise the evaluation and critique while stating the overall conclusions that can be drawn from the analysis.


  Always express the points in different words than those used earlier.


  Be sure the conclusion gives the reader a sense of finality and completeness.


  Leave the reader with a clear picture in his/her mind





Writing an analytical essay is challenging because it demands that the writer deeply examines the components and relationships between the parts of a piece of work and decides how those relationships are relevant and influential to the entire piece of work.





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Example of how to apply these concepts to a science-based assignment…


Example of how to structure a pharmacotherapeutics-based assignment (based on a case study or drugs for a given condition).


  • Introduction


Explain the disease (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, RA) and your nursing experience in that area (not a lot of detail)


Describe normal anatomy and physiology (e.g. of joints)


Describe pathophysiology of disease include known signs and symptoms of disease (e.g. RA); if writing a case study try to give the patient’s presenting signs and symptoms, if these are not available describe the known signs and symptoms but be sure to state this in your writing.

·      Body  How your chosen drugs impact on the condition


does the drug treat/cure the condition or just relieve symptoms? discuss the family of the drugs (e.g. the ACE Inhibtors AND Beta-Blockers)

Ø         include mechanisms of action if known, if unknown state this (give references)


Ø         what symptoms is this drug family targeting (e.g. ACE treat…..), describe how the drug targets the pathophysiology


discuss each specific drug (e.g. CARVIDALOL)

Ø         give more detail on the pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) of the drug


Ø         critically analyse your chosen drugs in terms of how they are used for the specific condition being discussed


o e.g. scale of trials, is it well tested? o Is it long in use?


o  Are there particular adverse effects?


o  Are there contraindications with other drugs and/or other conditions?



§         Body – Make comparisons between the two medications e.g. do they have similar mechanisms of actions or do they target different aspects of the pathophysiology?


§         Conclusion – summarise your discussion and evaluation, include some discussion around the implications for your practice, such as compliance or patient education issues. Remember to


evaluate the drugs impact on the disease process rather than on the overall patient outcome (this is less important because non-case studies will not refer to a specific patient).


Throughout the assignment you should (1) describe then (2) evaluate and finally (3) critique the aspects of the anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology of the drugs in relation to the case study/condition(s) you are writing about.




To evaluate and critique anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology you should consider how common the condition is, are the signs and symptoms very well-known and specific to condition or do they tend to be vague and ambiguous, does this impact upon time taken to receive an accurate diagnosis? For a case study, did your patient have any unusual pathophysiology or signs and symptoms, or perhaps they had an unusual normal anatomy and physiology? If you are not writing a case study you can talk about these things in general, for example do most people present with the same symptoms or is every case quite different? Remember to reference relevant literature for all of this.


When evaluating and critiquing drugs you should consider issues reported in peer-reviewed journals such as:


trials: have they been large-scale or small-scale; where they used on patients with your condition; if writing a case study, was your patient involved in any trial?


is there a lot of reported side-effects, adverse effects or contraindications. If writing a case study, did your patient experience these or perhaps they experience and unreported side-effect or adverse effect?


Do not limit your evaluation and critique to these examples; you can expand on other things you feel are relevant.


From the journals you have accessed and papers you have read, is there a lot of reliable peer-reviewed literature available about the drug being used for the condition you are writing about – discuss the pros and cons of issues around the available literature and its reliability.


























Students are expected to read articles from journals and selected topics from other books.


Core Textbooks


British Medical Association, Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (2016) British National Formulary London British Medical Association, Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain


Bennett, P.N., Brown, M.J., Sharma, P. (2012) Clinical Pharmacology (11th Ed) Edinburgh, Churchill Livingstone


Dale, M.M., Haylett, D.G. (2011) Pharmacology Condensed (2nd Ed) Edinburgh Churchill Livingstone


Mc Gavock, H. (2013) How Drugs Work (3rd Ed) Oxford Radcliffe Publishing


Neal, M.J. (2012) Medical Pharmacology at a Glance (7th Ed) Oxford Wiley Blackwell



Recommended Textbooks


Arcangelo, V.P., Peterson, A.M (2013) Pharmacotherapeutics for Advanced Pracrice : A Practical Approach (3rd Ed) Lippincott Williams and Wilkins


Greenstein, B. Gould, D. (2012) Trounce’s Clinical Pharmacology for Nurses (18th Ed)Edinburgh Churchill Livingstone



Mc Cance , K.L. Huether, S.E. (2014) Pathophysiology : The Biological Basis for Disease in Adults and Children (7th Ed ) Elsevier Mosby


Rogers, KMA (2014) Nurses! Test Yourself in Pharmacology, McGraw-Hill, Open University Press.


Rogers, KMA and Scott, WN., (2011) Nurses! Test Yourself in Anatomy & Physiology, McGraw-Hill, Open University Press.


Rogers, KMA and Scott, WN., (2011) Nurses! Test Yourself in Pathophysiology, McGraw-Hill, Open University Press.



Originally posted 2017-10-18 17:58:02.



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