NURS 6630 Introduction to Neuroscience

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NURS 6630 Introduction to Neuroscience

NURS 6630 Introduction to Neuroscience

Modern psychopharmacology is largely the story of chemical neurotransmission. To
understand the actions of drugs on the brain, to grasp the impact of diseases on the
central nervous system, and to interpret the behavioral consequences of psychiatric
medicines, one must be fluent in the language and principles of neurotransmission.
—Dr. Stephen M. Stahl in Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology
By using a combination of psychotherapy and medication therapy, psychiatric mental
health nurse practitioners are positioned to provide a very unique type of care to clients
with psychiatric disorders. To be successful in this role, you must have a strong
theoretical foundation in pathophysiology, psychopharmacology, and neuroscience.
This foundation will help you assess, diagnose, and treat clients as you relate
presenting symptoms to theoretical neuronal functioning.
This week, as you begin to study psychopharmacology, you explore foundational
neuroscience. You examine the agonist-to-antagonist spectrum of action of
psychopharmacologic agents, compare the actions of g couple proteins to ion gated
channels, and consider the role of epigenetics in pharmacologic action.
Note: In previous courses, the term “patient” was used to describe the person receiving
medical care. In traditional medicine and nursing, this term is used to describe the
person you do something to, and it often refers to a passive recipient of care and
services. As you move into the realm of psychiatric mental health, a transition will occur.
You will work with individuals who are active participants in their care, and these
individuals are generally referred to as “clients” as opposed to “patients.” It is important
to note that the term “client” is also favored in other mental health disciplines, such as
psychiatry, psychology, and social work.
Discussion: Foundational Neuroscience
As a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, it is essential for you to have a strong
background in foundational neuroscience. In order to diagnose and treat clients, you
must not only understand the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders, but also how
medications for these disorders impact the central nervous system. These concepts of
foundational neuroscience can be challenging to understand. Therefore, this Discussion
is designed to encourage you to think through these concepts, develop a rationale for
your thinking, and deepen your understanding by interacting with your colleagues.
Learning Objectives
Students will:
 Analyze the agonist-to-antagonist spectrum of action of psychopharmacologic agents
 Compare the actions of g couple proteins to ion gated channels
 Analyze the role of epigenetics in pharmacologic action
 Analyze the impact of foundational neuroscience on the prescription of medications
Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the
Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.
Required Readings
Note: All Stahl resources can be accessed through this link provided.
Stahl, S. M. (2013). Stahl’s essential psychopharmacology: Neuroscientific basis and
practical applications (4th ed.). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press *Preface,
pp. ix–x

Note: To access the following chapters, click on the Essential Psychopharmacology,
4th ed tab on the Stahl Online website and select the appropriate chapter. Be sure to
read all sections on the left navigation bar for each chapter.
 Chapter 1, “Chemical Neurotransmission”
 Chapter 2, “Transporters, Receptors, and Enzymes as Targets of
Psychopharmacologic Drug Action”
 Chapter 3, “Ion Channels as Targets of Psychopharmacologic Drug Action”
Document: Midterm Exam Study Guide (PDF)
Document: Final Exam Study Guide (PDF)
Required Media
Laureate Education (Producer). (2016i). Introduction to psychopharmacology [Video
file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 3 minutes.
Accessible player
Optional Resources
Laureate Education (Producer). (2009). Pathopharmacology: Disorders of the nervous
system: Exploring the human brain [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 15 minutes.

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Dr. Myslinski reviews the structure and function of the human brain. Using human
brains, he examines and illustrates the development of the brain and areas impacted by
disorders associated with the brain.
Accessible player
Laureate Education (Producer). (2012). Introduction to advanced pharmacology [Video
file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 8 minutes.
In this media presentation, Dr. Terry Buttaro, associate professor of practice at
Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences, discusses the importance of
pharmacology for the advanced practice nurse.
Accessible player
To prepare for this Discussion:

 Review this week’s Learning Resources.
 Reflect on concepts of foundational neuroscience.
Note: For this Discussion, you are required to complete your initial post before you will
be able to view and respond to your colleagues’ postings. Begin by clicking on the "Post
to Discussion Question" link and then select "Create Thread" to complete your initial
post. Remember, once you click on Submit, you cannot delete or edit your own posts,
and you cannot post anonymously. Please check your post carefully before clicking
on Submit!
By Day 3
Post a response to each of the following:
1. Explain the agonist-to-antagonist spectrum of action of psychopharmacologic agents.
2. Compare and contrast the actions of g couple proteins and ion gated channels.
3. Explain the role of epigenetics in pharmacologic action.
4. Explain how this information may impact the way you prescribe medications to clients.
Include a specific example of a situation or case with a client in which the psychiatric
mental health nurse practitioner must be aware of the medication’s action.
Read a selection of your colleagues' responses.
By Day 6
Respond to two colleagues in one of the following ways:
 If your colleagues’ posts influenced your understanding of these concepts, be sure to
share how and why. Include additional insights you gained.
 If you think your colleagues might have misunderstood these concepts, offer your
alternative perspective and be sure to provide an explanation for them. Include
resources to support your perspective.
Submission and Grading Information
Grading Criteria
To access your rubric:
Week 1 Discussion Rubric
Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 6
To participate in this Discussion:
Week 1 Discussion

Making Connections

Now that you have:
 Explored foundational neuroscience
 Examined how medications impact the central nervous system
Next week, you will focus on how neuroscience can be applied to pediatric clients
presenting with mood disorders.

To go to the next week:

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