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Posted: September 24th, 2023

NSC: Pharmacology and Pathophysiology in Health Assignment

Sepsis: A Medical Emergency Requiring Prompt Antibiotic Therapy
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises due to a dysregulated immune response to infection. If not recognized early and treated aggressively, it can progress rapidly to septic shock, multiple organ failure, and death. This paper will discuss the pathophysiology of sepsis, the importance of appropriate antibiotic selection and administration, as well as supportive care measures crucial for managing this medical emergency.
Pathophysiology of Sepsis
Sepsis occurs when the body mounts an inflammatory response to infection that damages its own tissues and organs (Martin, 2012). The triggering infection, often bacterial but sometimes fungal or viral, activates the immune system and induces a cascade of inflammatory mediators. This systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) can impair cardiovascular and coagulation function, reduce oxygen delivery, and damage vital organs if left unchecked (Rhodes et al., 2017). Understanding how sepsis develops at the molecular level informs best practices for treatment and prevention of further harm.
Role of Antibiotics in Sepsis Management
Prompt administration of effective antibiotics is key to overcoming the infection driving the dysregulated inflammatory response in sepsis. Empiric therapy with broad-spectrum antibiotics provides coverage for common gram-positive and gram-negative pathogens until culture results identify the specific organism (Rhodes et al., 2017). Therapy is then tailored accordingly. Duration of treatment typically ranges from 5-14 days but may be longer based on the infection site and pathogen (Singer et al., 2016). Timely antibiotic administration improves sepsis outcomes by reducing the bacterial load fueling the harmful inflammatory cascade.
Supportive Care Measures
In addition to antibiotics, supportive interventions are crucial for stabilizing patients with sepsis. Intravenous fluids restore intravascular volume and cardiovascular function, while vasopressors normalize blood pressure in cases of septic shock (Singer et al., 2016). Mechanical ventilation and renal replacement therapies address respiratory or organ failures as needed. Other adjunctive therapies continue to be explored to further improve sepsis survival. A multidisciplinary approach combining antimicrobials and organ support offers patients the best chance of overcoming this medical crisis.
In summary, sepsis arises via a dysregulated immune response to infection that damages the host. Prompt recognition and treatment with appropriate antibiotics alongside supportive care measures are necessary to overcome the inciting pathogen and modulate the harmful inflammatory response. With timely, evidence-based management, outcomes continue to improve for patients experiencing this potentially fatal medical emergency. Further research also seeks more effective therapies to continue enhancing sepsis survival.

1500 words assignment
NSC: Pharmacology and Pathophysiology in Health
Assignment (Scientific Essay)
Topic: Written Essay
Submission: via the assignment portal on StudyDesk Marks: Total of 100
Total weighting: 30% of the final mark
Purpose of assignment:
• Improve knowledge of homeostasis and how disruption may lead to a specific disease/disorder
• Understand and articulate how drug therapies address a particular pathophysiology
• Identify drug mode of action, indications, contraindications, potential interactions, adverse effects and therapeutic outcomes
• Learn how to integrate knowledge and present ideas logically and concisely
• Develop written communication skills
• Develop and improve critical thinking skills
Begin your search for scientific articles at the USQ Library website, specifically the PubMed database and/or Web of Science.
Topic(100 students MAX for each):
1. Septicaemia and antibiotics

Structure and components of the assignment:
Students will work individually to prepare an original essay on their chosen topic. The essay must be no longer than 1500 words (with a +10% leeway – you may submit a report that is more than 10% under the word limit, but this may be too brief and you will not be addressing the requirements).
In addition to the text and general information, figures and illustrations can be very important tools to convey complex information to your audience. You are welcome – and encouraged – to utilise appropriate illustrations to support your text. Just remember that your text must refer to your figures/illustrations, and any figures or illustrations must also be appropriately referenced.
What to include in your essay:
Your essay should include (but is not limited to):
• A summary/abstract (250 words maximum that does not count towards the 1500 word limit of the essay itself) that succinctly summarises the essays content.
o Your summary/abstract should follow the format of: introduction, summary of the main points/discussion in your essay, including the normal physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology, and then finish with a short conclusion.
o NOTE: references are not included with this
• An introduction and brief overview of the normal physiology and homeostasis of the system that is relevant to your chosen topic (Note that a thesis statement is NOT required)
• The pathophysiology and the mechanisms leading to the disease/disorder
• The pharmacology related to the treatment of the disease/disorder
o This must also include at least one specific drug example that addresses:
? Drug naming (chemical, generic, and proprietary)
? Mechanism of action (pharmacodynamics)
? Pharmacokinetics
? Route of administration
? Indications, contraindications, precautions and side effects
• You should also consider any other important aspects that may be relevant to your topic, for example:
o Are there any important drug interactions (other medications, natural products, etc) that patients should be aware of?
o Are there any lifestyle, exercise, therapy, or other physical considerations that are relevant? (for example, is the age of the patient a factor? BMI? Comorbidities? Polypharmacy? etc)
• The relevance of the disorder and pharmacology to clinical practice must also be clear
o This may be in any relevant context, but ideally your field of study (nursing, sports exercise, etc)
o For example, consider how you would apply your knowledge of the topic to your field in a clinical setting. How would this improve how you operate? How will this affect the clinical outcomes? How will this knowledge help you provide patient centred care? etc
• Conclusions
Important note: A key element of this assessment is the pharmacology. Alternate therapies, or different types of pharmacology, may be relevant for the disease/disorder that you are presenting, but if you do not present the pharmacology that is part of your specific topic you will not be addressing this part of the criteria and will lose marks.

Writing the summary/abstract:
You will need to write and submit a short (250 word) summary with your essay. This should succinctly summarise the essay’s content. It should follow the format of: introduction, summary of the main points/discussion (including the normal physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology) and finish with a short conclusion.
You will have the opportunity to engage with the Smarthinking team via the USQ library to get some early feedback on this element of your assessment. Please refer to the information on the related StudyDesk page. While this is not mandatory, the feedback that you can obtain from this process will be of particular help as you structure your main essay. Taking advantage of this will help you achieve the best possible mark for this assessment.
Your Smarthinking submission needs to completed by Wednesday 16th August. Submitting this on time is important to allow sufficient time for the Smarthinking tutors to provide feedback on your academic writing, so that this can assist you to improve your work on this assignment.
With this component of your assessment, please just note that references and in-text citations do not need to be included. Your references will be included with your full essay.
Finding information
You may draw your information from a variety of resources, but you should focus on current, up-to-date, research and the current state-of-knowledge. A good guide is to select a minimum of five recent and relevant journal publications on your topic and cover these in your essay (primary peer-reviewed research articles published in the past 5 years are what we are looking for).
All of your information sources should be referenced appropriately, and you should aim to avoid resources that may be unreliable or out-of-date (websites, news outlets, and similar, should be avoided).
Your references and in-text citations should be included within your essay, these do not need to be included with the summary/abstract. All references and in-text citations should be in the required reference format (Harvard AGPS or APA). References and in-text citations do NOT contribute to your word limit.
Textbooks can be a good resource for some established information and concepts, and these can be very useful during your initial investigations. However, you should then source the key information for your essay from evidence-based and peer-reviewed sources. Textbooks may be referenced in addition to these, but you should ensure that you are using journal publications as much as possible.
• You should aim for a minimum of 5 primary journal articles for your essay
• These are the type of publications that are required to address the references criteria (ie, not textbooks!)
Begin your search for scientific articles at the USQ Library website, specifically the PubMed database and/or Web of Science.
Referencing your information sources is an important part of this assessment. A reference list must be included with your essay (and this does NOT count towards the word limit).
The reference style will be:
• APA (
? You may choose to use either format, but you should only use the one format and must use it consistently
Academic Integrity:
Please remember, USQ holds Academic Integrity ( as a core principle and any breaches (Academic Misconduct) can result in a range of penalties (
This includes the use of AI text generation tools (such as ChatGPT) is strictly not allowed. Use of such tools will be flagged and this will incur penalties.
Formatting Guidelines:
• Font size 12pt (using a clear font, such as Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman)
• 1.5 line spacing
• Standard/normal margins (2.54cm)
• The abstract and the main essay are to be submitted in ONE file
• The submitted file must both be in PDF format ONLY
o Name your file in the format: SURNAME _ID#.pdf, eg:
? IVANOVSKY_U61234567.pdf
Important format details to double-check and remember!
? The submitted essay file MUST be in PDF format ONLY
? The submitted file MUST include the summary/abstract as well as the main essay. The summary/abstract should precede the main text and be identifiable.
? The summary/abstract MUST be no longer than 250 words
? The essay itself MUST be no longer than 1500 words in length (+10% leeway)
? The essay MUST include a full reference list
? In text-citations and references MUST be in Harvard AGPS or APA format ONLY

Submitting Your Essay:
1) You will submit your file using the assignment submission portal on StudyDesk
• Also remember that you are required to have read the ‘Assessment Submission and Extension’ document on StudyDesk, and you must also have completed the Academic Integrity Module, before you will be able to submit your assignment
2) Any application for extensions must be made PRIOR to the due date and MUST be accompanied by supporting documentation.
• Additional information on how to request an extension can be found here.
Selection of topics:
The topic selection activity will open on StudyDesk from 9:00am on Monday 17th July. This will remain open until it closes on 16th August.
You MUST have selected your topic before the activity closes. Any student who has not chosen a topic once the activity closes will be randomly assigned to one (students will be notified of their designated topic via an email to their USQ student email address).
Please note that each topic is also capped and only 70 students will be able to select each topic on a first- come first-served basis. So, if there is one particular topic that you are interested in, please ensure that you enter your selection as early as possible so that you don’t miss out!
When you are selecting your topic, make sure that you note the specific details. For example, if you choose a topic of “Diabetes mellitus (type 2) and sulfonylureas”, but you then prepare your essay on type 1 diabetes, or base it on insulin therapy, you will lose marks or receive a zero mark for the related criteria.
• You MUST complete your assignment on the topic you have chosen, or the one that was assigned to you.
• If you complete your assignment on a different topic without approval, you will receive a zero mark for the assessment.
Topic(100 students MAX for each):
1. Septicaemia and antibiotics

Marking Criteria Marks
(total 100)
• Succinctly presents the important information covered in the essay
• Includes a short introduction, summary of the main points/discussion (ie, the normal physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology) and also a short conclusion
• Is in the required format (PDF) and within the word-limit (250 words +10% leeway)
• Spelling and grammar are correct throughout
10 marks
Essay: overall content
• The topic is clearly introduced and there is a logical progression of ideas
• The essay demonstrates a thorough and complete understanding of the topic, particularly the pathophysiology and pharmacology
• The essay text is informative and would be understood by an educated audience
• Includes and considers recent developments, new research & advances in knowledge
12 marks
Essay: Normal physiology
• A brief and accurate overview of the normal physiology relevant to the topic/disease/disorder is provided
10 marks
Essay: Pathophysiology
• The pathophysiology of the disease/disorder presented is comprehensive, relevant to the specific disease/disorder, and correct
• Mechanisms responsible for the disease/disorder are explored in detail
20 marks
Essay: Pharmacology
• The related pharmacology to treat the disease/disorder is clearly described
• Relevant drug examples (at least one) are noted, including the:
o Drug class and naming
o Mechanism of action (pharmacodynamics) and pharmacokinetics
o Routes of administration
o Indications, contraindications, precautions and side effects
16 marks
Essay: Relevance to practice
• The relevance of the disease/disorder and the pharmacology to clinical practice is clearly apparent
o May be in any relevant context (eg. nursing and newly diagnosed oncology patients, sports exercise and patients with chronic respiratory disease, etc)
12 marks
Essay: literacy and format
• Is in the required format (PDF) and within the word-limit (1500 words with
+10% leeway)
• The essay is well written and clear; spelling and grammar is correct throughout
• Imagery and figures are well used to support the text, and are clear and appropriate
10 marks
Essay: References
• References are well used to support the information provided (MINIMUM 5)
• In-text citations are well used to support key information and figures
• References are recent, appropriate, and correctly formatted (Harvard AGPS or APA)
10 marks

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