Administration of medicines: Learning outcomes

Last updated: Tuesday, July 12, 2022

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to:
  • Outline the types of clinical problem that hospital pharmacists must solve concerning the safe administration of medicines. 
  • Describe the different methods by which injectable medicines are given.
  • Define extravasation and list the medicines-related risk factors that may lead to tissue damage if it occurs.
  • Support patients who may not be able to take their oral medicines safely such as those with dysphagia and/or an enteral feeding tube.

You can download a PDF of the whole tutorial (without interactive elements such as the Learning exercises) and a one-page summary of key points.

You should allow 120 minutes to complete this tutorial, including the Learning exercises.


If you are a hospital trainee pharmacist, this tutorial may help you achieve GPhC learning outcomes such as these:

  • LO 12 Take an all-inclusive approach to ensure the most appropriate course of action based on clinical, legal and professional considerations
  • LO 16 Apply professional judgement in all circumstances, taking legal and ethical reasoning into account
  • LO 27 Take responsibility for the legal, safe and efficient supply, [prescribing] and administration of medicines
  • LO 29 Apply the principles of clinical therapeutics, pharmacology and genomics to make effective use of medicines for people [including in their prescribing practice]
  • LO 30  Appraise the evidence base and apply clinical reasoning and professional judgement to make safe and logical decisions which minimise risk and optimise outcomes for the person

If you are a foundation pharmacist, this tutorial may assist with meeting certain competencies from the RPS framework including:

  • 1.1 Applies evidence-based clinical knowledge to make suitable recommendations or take appropriate actions 
  • 1.6 Uses own pharmaceutical knowledge to positively impact the usage and stewardship of medicines at an individual and population level.
  • 1.7 Undertakes a holistic clinical review of a person’s medicines to ensure they are appropriate.
  • 2.1 Keeps the individual at the centre of their approach to care at all times.
  • 3.1 Draws upon own knowledge and up-to-date guidance to effectively make decisions appropriately and with confidence.
  • 3.2 Critically appraises appropriate information to make a decision in an efficient and systematic manner; adopts evidence-informed solutions.
  • 3.3 Demonstrate awareness of where to seek appropriate information to solve problems and make decisions. 
  • 3.5 Manages uncertainty and possible risk appropriately, while ensuring high attention to detail is maintained when making decisions regarding the individual receiving care.
  • 6.5 Uses effective questioning when working with individuals receiving care or other healthcare professionals.

Continuing professional development

Finally, here are some CPD activities you could consider:

★  When you next assist a patient who has swallowing difficulties or is nil-by-mouth, write a reflective account of how you intervened and the difference it made to your patient. Were you able to communicate with the patient or their carer?

★  Schedule a time to read your Trust's Administration of Medicines policy, and/or its IV Medicines policy. What did you learn? Do you feel better equipped as a pharmacist as a result of being familiar with these policies?

★  Arrange to shadow your Trust's critical care pharmacist and to observe the different types of IV administration access devices (e.g. peripheral and central lines) and infusion devices (e.g. syringe and volumetric pumps).

 ★  Find out where your Trust's medical equipment library is based - maybe you could visit the department or ask a member of their team to run a teaching session for you and your colleagues.