What Is Acute and Critical Care Pharmacology?

Acute and Critical Care Pharmacology offers advanced practice and progressive and critical care nurses the latest evidence-based knowledge for safe prescription and administration of medications frequently used in caring for acutely and critically ill patients.

After completing this course, learners will be able to:

  • 1Identify patient safety issues related to medication administration in acute and critical care

  • 2Differentiate pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics, and the effect on individuals or specific patient populations

  • 3Describe the actions of vasoactive medications and how to assess patients for intended pharmacodynamic effects and possible adverse reactions

  • 4Review the mechanism of action, desired effects, possible adverse effects, and safe dosages of antidysrhythmic medications

  • 5Assess patients for pain and anxiety, and the effects of analgesics and sedatives

  • 6Manage issues related to use of paralytic medications, and avoid potentially dangerous adverse reactions

  • 7Describe common blood products, and implement processes to safely administer them

Explore Course Pricing

Learn more about pricing for individuals and institutions, and how to place an order.


This course is a collaborative effort between AACN and Elsevier Clinical Solutions.

module image

Course Content

Throughout the course, learners develop the knowledge and skills needed to help cultivate a culture of patient safety using current standards established by clinical experts in nursing, pharmacy, transfusion and cellular therapy fields. The course is divided into eight lessons that cover: Patient Safety in Critical Care Medication Administration, Introduction to Pharmacology Principles on Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics, Vasoactive Medications, Antidysrhythmic Medications, Medications for Pain and Sedation, Paralytic Medications, and Blood and Blood Products.

Review Course Content

CE Hours Earned

Up to 10.6 and 6 APRN Pharma CEs
CE Expire March 29, 2026

Get Started

Promote and demonstrate safe medication practice in your unit with Acute and Critical Care Pharmacology.

AACN offers the following resources:

Customer Support
Sales Support and Technical Support
On the Blog
Read about topics important to nurse managers and educators.


The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation, Provider Number 0012. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses is approved by the California State Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP1036 for (10.6) contact hours and 6 pharmacology contact hours. This CE activity expires on March 29, 2026.

AACN programming meets the standards for most states that require mandatory continuing education contact hours for license and/or certification renewal. AACN recommends consulting with your state board of nursing or credentialing organization before submitting CE to fulfill continuing education requirements.

Successful Completion

Learners will be awarded contact hours based on the lessons, module exams and full modules they completed. Completion includes the lesson content, lesson test and module exam. Tests and exams must be passed with at least 80% score.


This activity has been reviewed by the Nurse Planner. It has been determined that the material presented here shows no bias. No conflicts of interest have been identified for any individual with the ability to influence the content of this activity. Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing education only and does not imply AACN or ANCC approval or endorsement of any commercial products discussed or displayed in conjunction with this educational activity.