"Medicine Mansions" aid students in memorizing drugs

(from left) Krista Rollins, Alex Roe, Emily Williams, and Abby Schleicher describe their poster

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (March 31, 2014) - Procainamide, Propranolol, Nicardipine, Potassium, Lidocaine HCL, Esmolol, and Atropine all have one thing in common, these are several of the over 100 drugs students in the Pharmacology class are memorizing. Education has long relied on mnemonic devices to aid students in remembering key information.

Assistant Professor Beth Cita uses a “Medicine Mansion” activity as a mnemonic device to help her students create associations between medicines and something familiar—the floor plan of a house. She created 15 floor plans for apartments, Victorian, and ranch style homes on large sheets of white paper.

Students work in groups talking about which room reminds them of a particular medicine and why. For example, a group put Atropine in the master bedroom because it was once known as a “love potion” because it increases the heart rate and has hallucinogenic properties. Another drew an older woman sitting by the fireplace and assigned the drug to her.

An all-male group added an addition to their “bachelor pad” to include a gym and sunroom. They also created an organic garden plot for growing Foxgloves—also known as Digitalis purpurea—meaning “finger-like” in reference to how easy it is to fit a flower over a human fingertip. One use of the flower is in creating a drug called Digoxin which is designed to treat heart failure and abnormal heart rhythm.

“I first read about this activity in a Nurse Educator journal about teaching strategies. Susan Montenery and her students developed the idea of medicine mansions as a device for memorizing medicine information,” says Cita.


For more information contact:

Melody A. Messner, Ph.D.
Director of Communications - Educational Programs
Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences
624 Westport Road
Kansas City, Mo. 64111