Please Help!  page 2
I am starting the evening/weekend RN program in Jan and have received the packet with all the required tasks prior to beginning. My question is regarding the dosage calculations. Can anyone that is... Read More

Dec 30, '06Occupation: Adolescent psych Specialty: Adolescent Psych, PICU ; Joined: Feb '03; Posts: 2,164; Likes: 384Your going to be ok.
We had to pass our dosage calc classes with a 90% or better in order to start the junior year and then we have to pass it again in order to continue with the senior year. No one has not passed them (we get 2 tries). The first test out of 80 of us, only 2 didn't pass the first try, but they both passed it the second time.
After you get dosage calc under your belt (meaning you have memorized the conversions, etc) it is EASY! We have dosage calc problems on every test and that is always everyone fav parts because we all get them correct 
Dec 30, '06Occupation: Medical Specialty: Med/Surg <1; Epic Certified <1 ; Joined: Nov '05; Posts: 2,257; Likes: 366We had to pass a basic calculations test to even get in to our program (new requirement) and that was the gist of what we did for most of the semester...about 3/4 of the way in, we started with IV drip calculations....I made myself a little mnemonic for the basic calculations, as when I hadn't used them for awhile, I kept forgetting the order!!
OAQ (or "Oak")
Ordered amt/Available amt X Quantity (if applicable)
So:
Ordered: 250 mg tabs
Available: 125 mg tabs
250/125 = 2 tablets
If the meds are in solution, such as ml, then that would be your Quantity....hopefully I didn't make it more confusing?!?!
I highly recommend the Calculate with Confidence text....lots of practice problems and it starts at the beginning with reviews of the Roman numerals, fractions, decimals, etc., then proceeds on in to IVs, etc. I hope your program will do a math review as you go along!! 
Dec 30, '06Occupation: staff nurse Specialty: Critical Care, Pediatrics, Geriatrics ; Joined: Mar '05; Posts: 1,783; Likes: 108I was always good at math, so dosage calculation seemed pretty easy. My school did a really good job of explaining dosage calculation and we had very few failures. Alot of people get nervous about the math portion of nursing, but it's really not that hard. The only people that failed in my program did not apply themselves or did not show up for class. I am sure if you will find that you have gotten more anxious over it than you need to be. Just stick in there. You will be fine.

Dec 31, '06Occupation: Clinical Nurse Specialty: Neuro ; Joined: Mar '04; Posts: 814; Likes: 127About a week before my first quarter started I received via email the syallbus for my clinical class. In it they mentioned we would be taking a dosage calc test the first week and had to get 95% on it or we would not pass meds in clinicals. It was "recommended" that we buy a math for nurses book, but aside from that, we received NO instruction. Needless to say our type A personality selves FLIPPPED OUT. Finally after whimpering to our prof repeatedly she gave us a practice exam and a review session, and no one failed the test.
Of course, I just found out last night that I have to take another one this quarter and I mildly panicked and whipped out my math for nurses book again. The hardest thing for me is remembering the conversion factors for things like teaspoons or grains. The test itself is really not that bad, as others have said. It's always the anxiety that's the worst. You'll be okay. 
Dec 31, '06Joined: Dec '06; Posts: 398; Likes: 282I'm gonna throw a fireball in here ~~~ dosage isn't math.
Ok, ok, I know that you will use some math functions and do conversions, but remember this . . .
if math freaked you out in a previous life (like me), bear in mind that dosage is not math. It's dosage.
I'm halfway through a BSN program at a large university with an astonishingly high NCLEX pass rate. We are REQUIRED to use "dimensional analysis". There are plenty of good books out there on this, and the description above is a good start.
Whatever you use to learn, practice it until you can do it in your sleep.
After each problem, take a second to review your answer. Ask yourself "is my answer reasonable?" Would you really give an IM of 50 mL? PO meds and peds are different, too. Keep your head on straight when you look at the answer.
Also, take the time to really memorize all the conversions (lb to kg, Tb to mL). 
Dec 31, '06Occupation: Obs Unit Specialty: Telemetry & Obs ; From: US ; Joined: Oct '03; Posts: 2,412; Likes: 1,820Devote a notebook to nothing but your drug calculations....each semester you'll learn something new and if you have a central place to keep it all, it sure makes it easier!!
Pediatrics drug calculations are specific to peds, there are some IV calculations specific to OB, etc.
My drug calculations notebook was worth it's weight in gold 
Dec 31, '06Occupation: Clinical Nurse Specialty: Neuro ; Joined: Mar '04; Posts: 814; Likes: 127Quote from mauxtav8rThat reminds me... one of my friends who is normally very brilliant but a little ditzy passed her dosage calc test but missed one question. We had to calculate a drip rate and she wound up with half a drop per minute. When questioned, jokingly, by our director about how she expected to accomplish that, she said "Simple. One drop every two minutes!"After each problem, take a second to review your answer. Ask yourself "is my answer reasonable?" Would you really give an IM of 50 mL? PO meds and peds are different, too. Keep your head on straight when you look at the answer.
I would say to learn (at least somewhat) how to do the problem two ways: dimensional analysis AND crossmultiplication. I tend to do all the problems twice, both ways, to make sure I get the same answer both times. If I get different answers, then I need to go back and see what I'm missing. It helps me catch mistakes frequently.