01.08 The SOCK Method – Overview

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Included In This Lesson

Study Tools



  1. SOCK Method
    1. S – Side Effects
    2. O – Organs
    3. C – Class/Considerations/Cards
    4. K – Know (or Must Know)
    5. The Correct Order

Nursing Points


  1. SOCK Method
    1. Reasons for use
      1. Increases knowledge base
      2. Simple mnemonic
      3. Simplifies learning medications
        1. Improves safety
        2. Improves patient outcomes
    2. S – Side Effects
      1. Know the intent of the medication
      2. Know potential side effects
    3. O – Organs
      1. Focuses on the major organs or organ systems affected by drugs
      2. Helps to prioritize care based on which organs are affected
    4. C – Class/Consideration/Cards
      1. Class
        1. Identify which class of medications it is
      2. Consideration
        1. Nursing considerations for each drug
      3. Cards
        1. Create flash cards
    5. K – Know (Must Know)
      1. Commonly used medications
      2. Most commonly used medications on a specific unit or area
    6. The Correct Order
      1. Create a habit of studying via SOCK, then rearrange
        1. Will inherently shift your way of thinking
      2. O – Organs
        1. Must come first because of prioritization
      3. K – Know (Must Know)
        1. Familiarize yourself with the must know medications
      4. C – Class/Consideration/Cards
        1. Focus on the class of drugs
        2. Remember nursing considerations
          1. Guides nursing practice
        3. Create drug cards to remember the information
      5. S – Side Effects
        1. Focus on the most common or most deadly side effects


Haws, J., RN. (2017, November 16) . The S.O.C.K. Method for Mastering Nursing Pharmacology (our 4 step method). Retrieved from https://www.nrsng.com/sock-method-nursing-pharmacology/

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Welcome to the SOCK Method lecture for Understanding Nursing Pharmacology. This lecture is going to give you a high level view of the SOCK method. First of all, what is the SOCK Method, and why do we care about it? Well, the SOCK method is really this simplified way of learning, understanding, and mastering pharmacology as a nursing student. This is one of the most difficult subjects, the most difficult things to learn and understand. So we’ve developed at NRSNG, this method is called the S-O-C-K method, SOCK Method.
And this is really just a simple pneumonic for helping you understand the steps of this method and the steps required to help you master the medications that you need to know. So really like I said, it’s a simple mnemonic, helps increase your knowledge base and that simplifies learning medications, which helps you improve safety and improve patient outcomes. So what is the S of the SOCK Method? The S and the SOCK Method stands for side effects. At this step of learning these medications, you’re focused on the intent of the medication. You want to understand life threatening side effects, and you want to understand the effects that this medication is going to have on major organ systems in the body.
All right, in the O, the S-O. Now we’re on O. O stands for organs. What we want to do is here is we want to identify which medications affect specific organs, or systems within the body. Now if we go back to the S, remember we want to focus on the major organ systems with this. That’s the whole purpose here. We focus on major organ systems. Figure out how the medication’s effect those organ systems, figure out the side effects and figure out the nursing considerations that affect these major organ systems.
Now think, does this medication affect an entire organ? Or does it affect an entire system? Or does it just do kind of one thing? And really focusing in on those major organ systems. With the C, we actually have three things we want to focus on here with the C. It’s class, consideration, and cards. With the class, we want to identify which class of medications this is in and we focus on the pharmacological class. By focusing on the pharmacological class, that’s going to help us understand the class of a medication, remember how it works. And we’ll dig into this more when we get to the C lecture of the SOCK Method.
Then we focused on nursing considerations of each drug. And then we create flash cards and I’m going to show you how to create flash cards in a way that’s going to work for you. Then the K, the K stands for must know, or K-N-O-W, or know. Look, you can’t understand and you can’t learn every medication. So we focus on the must know medications, whether that’s for your specific units, whether that’s for specific exam. You focus on the ones that you must know. Now, the correct order of doing this when you’re presented with a new medication, or a new set of medication is you start with the organs, then you go to the must know, then you go to the class considerations and cards, and then you focus on the side effects.
The reason we’ve arranged this OKCS into SOCK is it’s more memorable. It’s something that’s goin to work with you, but it’s something that you’re going to start to identify and understand as you begin to work through learning different medications. All right, so just to refresh really quick, before we go on to each different step of the SOCK Method is S stands for side effects, focus on major side effects or major organ systems. Then the O is organs, focus on the major organ systems. The C stands for the three C’s, which are pharmacological class, considerations, and cards. And the K stands for must know. Identify the medications that you must know. And then the correct order, OKCS.
Identify the SOCK first, S-O-C-K, understand what those things stand forward, then rearrange into the right order. You guys we’re going to go over this more in detail. But I promise you this is a method that’s going to help you understand and master nursing pharmacology. All right guys, go out and be your best selves today. Happy Nursing.

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