The study of materia medica is made, to some extent, a part of the course in all our training schools for nurses; but, so far, no text-book has been prepared along the special lines followed in class recitations.
Those special lines are well defined, and are limited. They begin and end with medicines, and do not run into therapeutics. The application of medicine to disease is no part of a nurse's study, and there are therefore some inconveniences met with in using - as text-books - works on materia medica which are written solely for the use of the medical profession.
Large works, containing all the points which a nurse needs to know, contain also an immense amount of matter with which she has nothing to do, and are very expensive; while those which are more concise usually presuppose a large amount of information, and are, indeed, not intended to be used at the beginning of a course of study, but rather at the end.
It is in the hope of filling this middle place that this text-book has been compiled, and the attempt made to collect from all available sources the scattered points which concern a nurse, and to give them simply and directly. The outlines followed are those of the classes in materia medica as taught in most of our training schools for nurses, and include something of the source and composition of drugs; their physiological actions; signs indicating their favorable or unfavorable results; the symptoms of poisons, with their antidotes; and practical points on administration.
For material I am indebted to the following works: "Materia Medica and Therapeutics," by Dr. H. C. Wood; "Quiz Compend of Materia Medica," by Dr. S. O. Potter; "Materia Medica and Therapeutics," by Dr. R. Bartholow; "Lectures on Materia Medica and Therapeutics," by Dr. Thomson, edited by Dr. Le Fevre; "Manual of Pharmacology, Therapeutics, and Materia Medica," by Dr. T. Lauder Brunton; "Materia Medica and Therapeutics," by Dr. J. Mitchell Bruce; and Dr. Farquharson's "Guide to Therapeutics and Materia Medica," edited by Dr. Woodbury.
I gratefully acknowledge the kind permission accorded by the authors and publishers of the first five works to make extracts from them. For the use of the last two I am indebted to the courtesy of Messrs. Lea Brothers. Sincere thanks are due also to Dr. Charles Rice for much kindness in giving assistance and information, and in contributing a table of comparison between minims and drops; and to Dr. George Dock for revision and corrections and for many practical suggestions. The classification follows that used by Dr. Brunton and Dr. Bruce. The doses follow the averages set by the U. S. P., and not, as before, taken mainly from Dr. Wood's "Materia Medica and Therapeutics."