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Lesson Plan: Types of Medications

Types of Medications

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This lesson enables students to describe different types of medication, how they are administrated and how they work. It is relevant for nursing and care students and professionals.

B1 (lower-intermediate) level


Note: this article introduces the first part of the Teachers Notes. There is a link at the bottom to download the complete set of Teachers Notes and the Student Worksheet, so you can use this in your lessons.

Teacher Notes

●    Topic: Types of medications

●    Timing: 30–50 minutes

●    Lesson type/focus: speaking, reading, vocabulary and writing


●       Speaking: discuss types of medications

●       Reading: read for specific information

●       Vocabulary: learn and review language for types of medications

●       Writing:  practise organising and presenting information


The focus of the lesson is describing types of medication. The speaking activity introduces the topic and gives students the opportunity to share their ideas and experience. The reading activity introduces some more related language and practises reading for specific information. The vocabulary activities introduce/review key vocabulary. The writing activity uses language from the lesson and students’ own knowledge to produce a piece of patient-centred writing.


Note: This lesson supports the language introduced in the following:

●       Course: English for Nurses: Getting the Essentials Right

●       Unit: Administrating Medications

●       Module: ‘Types of medication’ pages 7, 11 and 14

Teaching Notes & Answer Key

Part 1: speaking

Put students into pairs or small groups and ask them to discuss questions 1–3 on the student worksheet. Encourage them to share examples from their own experience.

Do whole class feedback to discuss and share answers.


  1. How many different types of medicines do you know?
    oral medication (by mouth), e.g. tablets (pills), capsules, liquids
    intravenous medication (in the vein)
    nebulisers, inhalers, nasal sprays
    eye drops / eye ointments
    cream, ointment, patches
    laxatives, enemas

  2. Why is it important to explain about medications to your patients?
    so patients know to take the medication properly
    so patients understand possible side effects and precautions

  3. What do nurses have to be careful about when they give out medications?
    to ensure the correct dose is administered
    to ensure the correct medication is given to the correct patient
    to ensure they know about any allergies a patient might have and which make taking
    the medication dangerous
    to ensure the medication is given at the correct time

Part 2: reading

Have students work individually to read the text and reorder the sentences to complete the definitions. Then have them compare their ideas with a partner.

Go through the answers as a class.

Have students read the text through again individually and highlight any new words. Deal with any vocabulary queries.


1. Absorption: medication enters the bloodstream and becomes bioavailable
2. Distribution: medicine passes out of the bloodstream across the cell membrane 
3. Metabolism: unwanted medicine becomes water-soluble 
4. Excretion: unused medical waste passes out of the body through body fluids

Extension activity
Have students work individually, or in pairs, to write five questions for the text. Then have them swap their questions and answers them. Alternatively, set five comprehension questions yourself.

Example questions:
Which kind of medicines are absorbed the fastest? intravenous medicines
Why does the absorption rate of oral medication vary? amount of stomach acid, food or other medications in stomach
How does medication get out of the bloodstream? by passing across the cell membrane
What does the blood-brain barrier do? stops medication entering the brain
What happens to parts of the medication the body doesn’t need? it is excreted by the kidney

Download the complete lesson plan and student worksheet:

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