What is on Med calculations Test?

  1. Hello I take my first RN course next semester. I keep seeing threads about the med calculation test and people freaking out. Can someone give examples and how can I prepare? Thanks

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    Joined: Jul '12; Posts: 131; Likes: 36


  3. by   classicdame
    google for medication calculations nursing and you will find oodles of stuff. Basically, how to give every type of med, including IV's. A medication calculation book is a good investment.
  4. by   Marchy13
    My school uses Clinical Calculations Made Easy (5th Edition) by Gloria Craig. It's a 6 chapter workbook with a lot of problems and explanations on how to work through them using dimensional analysis. There are also plenty of case study problems as well. I suggest getting it or the previous version and working through it if you're nervous about math and using it in school.

    Clinical Calculations Made Easy: Solving Problems Using Dimensional Analysis: Gloria P. Craig: 9781608317905: Amazon.com: Books

    Either way, my advise is to not internalize the fact that other people freak out about math or any other subject because it just makes you do the same. (not that you are internalizing but just my 2 cents for those who are)

    You'll do fine!

    ETA: Although I've always been someone who is confident in my math abilities, I've also been someone who makes a lot of careless mistakes...I passed my Med Calc Test on the first try last Thursday and scored 100%. It can be done.
    Last edit by Marchy13 on Sep 24, '12 : Reason: Added last statement
  5. by   brillohead
    Med calc problems can vary greatly in complexity. Here are some examples:

    Orders: 750mg of Drug
    Available: 250mg per tablet
    How many tablets need to be given?

    Orders: 40mg of Drug
    Available: 200mg per 2mL
    How much do you draw up in the syringe?

    Orders: 20mg of Drug administered over half an hour
    Available: 20mg in 100mL of normal saline; IV tubing drip rate is 15 drips per mL
    How many drips per minute if manually adjusting rate?
    How many mL per hour if using a pump?

    And my school also considers I&O calculations to be "drug calc" problems, so we also see problems like:

    You're working the 0700-1500 shift. Your patient is receiving maintenance fluids at 40mL/hour. Breakfast consisted of 6 ounces of OJ, 4 ounces of jello, and 8 ounces of coffee. Patient voided 200mL of urine and vomited 100mL. Lunch consisted of 8 ounces of jello and 4 ounces of water.
    What is total intake for your shift?
    What is total output for your shift?
    What is the fluid balance for your shift?
  6. by   GodIs082010
    Thank you ladies

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  7. by   turnforthenurse
    Med calc tests can vary depending on difficulty and also the type of course you are taking. We had a med calc test for every nursing class with a clinical component in school, but they were also tailored to that specific patient population and what we were learning. In my early nursing classes (Fundamentals), the tests focused more on dosages calculations ("Order states give 650mg Tylenol Q6H fever/pain, you have 325mg tabs on hand, how much do you give?" or "Orders states give 2mg morphine Q4H PRN pain and you have 10mg/2mL syringes on hand, how much do you give?") and conversions (including drams and minims but I have yet to see this in practice now). When I got to my gero med-surg rotation, we started doing IV stuff, so our test included calculating mL/hr and drops/min.

    Peds focused on pediatric dosage calculations, which are all weight-based, and fluid maintenance calculations which is big in that field of nursing.

    Critical care focused on weight-based calculations, such as mcg/kg or mg/kg, and things like mcg/min, mcg/kg/min, mg/min, mg/hr and mcg/hr.
  8. by   nurseprnRN
    Med math exams are simple algebra, which is precisely why algebra is a prerequisite for nursing school. If you thought you were done with it and have wiped it out of your working memory, go back and refresh yourself. There is no substitute for understanding basic algebra when it comes to solving medication calculations.