How to Create Nursing Drug Cards

by Krista Sheehan

Nursing students use drug cards to learn how drugs are used and administered, their interactions, dosages and common side effects. Although drug cards can be purchased, most nursing students are required to create their own. This helps them to better understand and remember the information.

Speak with your teacher about the appropriate information to include on each drug card. Certain basics will always apply, but some teachers may require additional information that others do not. As your teacher explains the requirements, make a list of the information you need to include.

Gather supplies to make your nursing drug cards. You will need a stack of note cards; your teacher will determine which size and estimate how many to use. Plan to write the cards in pencil, so you can erase if you need to change or correct any information after the cards are finished. Get markers or highlighters of five to 10 colors so you can color-code your cards, giving each type of information a different color. Gather any textbooks or professional sources you need in making your drug cards.

Write the generic name and trade name of the drug on the front of the note card. Including their pronunciations is helpful. This information does not need to be color-coded.

Flip the card and write the relevant information on the back. Begin by repeating the generic name and trade name at the top. Then write the relevant information clearly and neatly underneath. Refer to the list of your teacher’s requirements. The most common information to put includes drug classification, dosage, method of administration, action of the drug, therapeutic effect, contraindications, common side effects and nursing implications. This side of the card should be color-coded. For example, use a yellow highlighter for the title “Classification.” Use a pink highlighter for “Dosage.” Continue highlighting each section with a different color, and use the same color-coding system on all of the drug cards. If you do not have highlighters, use colored markers to outline boxes around the sections.

Continue writing cards for all the required drugs. Your teacher should have given you a list. If not, you will need to assess your patients to determine which drugs should be given to them; make a card for each drug you think should be administered.

Study and memorize the information on the drug cards. Test yourself by looking at the drug names on the front and trying to remember the information on the back.

Things You Will Need

  • Note cards
  • Pencils
  • Highlighters or markers, 5 to 10 colors