Dosage Calculations

U.S.A. Louisiana


I just started SELU's accelerated nursing program this week. Our first two classes are only 12 days long. We just started doing dosage calculations and it is very confusing. The instructor just goes over it like its a refresher course and doesn't actually teach. I have to admit that being over 35 my brain probably doesn't work as fast as some of the younger students. The instructor said that there's 3 ways to do it but that she would only teach using dimensional analysis bc thats what she uses and she finds it easier. The other two ways we would have to learn on our own if we wanted. Can anyone recommend some supplemental books or resources that would help me. Our test is next 6/01/09.


57 Posts

I'm not in the accelerated program but I had 2 semesters of dosage. First of all, how comfortable are you with math, simple math. That's all there is. I'm also over 35, in the regular nursing program. Dosage tests are really quite easy. Don't worry about which method, they pretty much accept the answer as long as you can show how you arrived at it. Most important thing is how to round numbers. I suggest you do the questions in the manual that they'll give you.


116 Posts

I used a book from Barnes and Noble called Math for Nurses a Pocket Guide to Dosage Calculation and Drug Preparation. It really simplified things.


4,220 Posts

i agree with your instructor. i would learn to do dosage calculations using dimensional analysis (da) first. then, once you are comfortable using da, look into the other methods (d/h x q or ratio-proportion) if you want. personally i use da almost exclusively as it works for any calculation. both of the other methods work well when you are working with the same units, however if you are using different units (dose in mcg, available in mg) you have to make a conversion. while many people find it easy to do this in their head, this can easily lead to a medication error (either under/overdosing). if you lay the problem out an paper using da then it is easy to double check your calculations.

you might find the following sites helpful.

basic drug calculation review

medication math for the nursing student

good luck.



12 Posts

Thank you all so much for the valuable information. I practiced all night do some problems and got it. It wasn't the math that was the problem it was setting the problem up correctly that posed the biggest challenge. I really appreciate all the help!!!!!

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