Dosage Calculations

I am having a hard time with med calculations like IV, IV push, IM, etc. Can you suggest anything?

~ Submitted by Theresa

Lots of nursing students have difficulty with dosage calculations, but as I’m sure you know they are very important to learn how to do! Honestly, the 3 best things I can suggest are probably the most obvious…and that is to 1) practice, 2) practice, and 3) practice. Get a spiral notebook that you only use to practice your dosage calculations, then set a goal for yourself as to how many calculations or how much time you want to spend on it every day.

The “secret” to mastering dosage calculations is to do a little bit of practice at a time, but to do it often. A lot of times, when we feel like we are not good at something, we tend to avoid it! Then when test time rolls around we freak out and cram for a few hours…but that just leaves us feeling frustrated and even more nervous than before. Instead, start preparing today. Spend 15-20 minutes every day doing dosage calculations, and maybe an extra 1-2 hours on the weekend. If you stick to your goal consistently, then I guarantee that you will start to feel more confident in your math skills within a few months. Fill up that entire spiral notebook with practice problems!!

If you still feel like you need some extra help, see if your school has a math lab or tutoring center that you can take advantage of. Just don’t expect that they will magically make you good at dosage calculations…even with their help, you still need to be practicing regularly on your own to master the skills they tutor you on. No math lab? Ask one of your nursing instructors for help during office hours, or find a classmate who is good at math and has the patience for teaching. Wherever you go for extra help, though, don’t forget that the real secret is to spend time practicing on your own.

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