ICU Pharmacology: Commonly Used Medications

This course is designed for nurse clinicians, intensive care unit nurses, and nurses caring for ventilated patients who administer vasoactive, sedative, and other medications in the ICU setting. The purpose of this course is to educate ICU nurses regarding the use of many different pharmacological agents, including best practices for administration and titration. 

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Upon completion of this course participants will be able to:

  1. List the pharmacology of various medications given in an ICU setting, such as sedatives, paralytics, pain medications, respiratory medications, and others.
  2. Explain best practices for sedation titration in ventilated patients.
  3. Identify safety and best practices for patients receiving medications for cardiovascular support.
  4. Describe safe practices in the use of anticoagulants for blood clots and DVT prophylaxis.
  5. Evaluate case scenarios that require pharmacology knowledge to provide safe patient care.


Chapter 1: Introduction/Outline

Chapter 2: Sedation

  • Best Practice
  • Propofol
  • Dexmetomidine
  • Midazolam 

Chapter 3: Paralytics

  • Indications
  • Evidence Review
  • Implications for Practice 

Chapter 4: Pain Medications

  • Opioids
  • Opioid Receptor Antagonist 

Chapter 5: Antimicrobials

  • Best Practice

Chapter 6: Respiratory

  • Albuterol

Chapter 7: PUD Prophylaxis

  • Best Practice

Chapter 8: Cardiovascular

  • Beta-blockers
  • Milrinone
  • Vasoactive medication
    • Dopamine
    • Phenylephrine
    • Norepinephrine
    • Vasopressin

Chapter 9: Anticoagulants

  • Heparin
    • Best Practice
  • V. Anticoagulant use in CVA
  • W. DVT Prophylaxis

Chapter 10: Diuretics

Chapter 11: Case Scenario 1

Chapter 12: Case Scenario 2

Chapter 13: Conclusion

  • References
  • California Bill 241
  • Implicit Bias in Healthcare
  • What is Implicit Bias?
  • Implications of Implicit Bias in Healthcare
  • How to Reduce Implicit Bias

Price: $20.00

Contact Hours: 2

Course Author

HTRSD is a provider of continuing education training focused on human trafficking and other social disparities for health care providers, as well as courses that address nurses' health and well-being and under-served topics in advanced critical care.

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