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RN program acceptance letter & drug dosage calculation questions

Has 3 years experience. Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care.

Good day:

I received my RN program acceptance letter today for starting clinicals in January 2015 with an anticipated graduation date in December 2016. Our nursing school requires that one passes a drug calculation exam prior to the start of every semester with a 100%.

The letter stated to study specific chapters in "Calculating with Confidence" 6th edition. For those of you who have the 5th and 6th edition or have already done comparisons, is there much of a change between the 5th and 6th edition? Would using the 5th edition to study be risky?

Are there any websites than dosagehelp.com (whcih I do know about and enjoy) that you would recommend for getting practice and learning dosage calculations?

For those of you who have to take regular (at least once a semester) drug calculation exams, what do you do to prepare yourself to do well on the exams?

Thank you!

Miss.LeoRN

Specializes in Cardiac Stepdown, PCU.

It looks like the 6th edition added dimensional analysis or more of it and a few other things. If you're supposed tof study specific chapters they might not correlate but the material might still be there. You'd just have to search it.

This was from the Amazon page:

NEW! Integration of QSEN information related to patient safety in the Medication Administration chapter and throughout text.

NEW! NCLEX-style questions on Evolve help prepare you for the NCLEX-RN Examination.

NEW! Content additions and updates includes word problems involving dosages, Critical Thinking Scenarios, a discussion of the concepts regarding safety issues with medication administration, plus significant updates in the insulin, critical care and IV chapters.

NEW! Reorganization of Answer Key features answers and the work to practice problems at the end of each chapter rather than in the back of the book.

pmabraham, BSN, RN

Has 3 years experience. Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care.

Good day, immortalessence:

Thank you for letting me know the differences.

Good day:

I received my RN program acceptance letter today for starting clinicals in January 2015 with an anticipated graduation date in December 2016. Our nursing school requires that one passes a drug calculation exam prior to the start of every semester with a 100%.

The letter stated to study specific chapters in "Calculating with Confidence" 6th edition. For those of you who have the 5th and 6th edition or have already done comparisons, is there much of a change between the 5th and 6th edition? Would using the 5th edition to study be risky?

Are there any websites than dosagehelp.com (whcih I do know about and enjoy) that you would recommend for getting practice and learning dosage calculations?

For those of you who have to take regular (at least once a semester) drug calculation exams, what do you do to prepare yourself to do well on the exams?

Thank you!

Congrats on your acceptance, pmabraham! I have to take 1 or 2 drug calculation exams per semester. So far I've taken 5 and I have one more in august (my last!!). I'm lucky enough that my school has an optional review class for this topic prior to the start of every semester. I do every single problem in the assignments and in the textbook. I go over any mistakes and fix them and meet with my instructor for one-on-one review as needed and I keep practicing right up until the time of the exam so the information is fresh in my mind. I really think that practice and repetition makes perfect. As far as the problems themselves, I think that solving them with dimensional analysis is the best was compared to formulas or ratio/proportion. I don't have any information regarding that textbook. My instructor writes her own book with thousands of problems so I don't have to buy another one. Good luck! :)

Nevermind, just saw the answer to my question. So you have to have 100% also.

Edited by aspiringrn1987
Found the answer to my own question

rob4546, ADN, BSN

Has 6 years experience. Specializes in ICU.

You know we had to do this as well. The first time everyone was flustered about the 100% rule and many failed. They were allowed 2 retakes and everyone eventually passed. We started using the principals in clinical rotations and for the next 2 tests were nothing. I believe it was the stress of having to pass with 100%. Just study the related aspects in your textbook and remember to breathe.

On that note, I went through nursing orientation at the facility I was hired at and had to pass a similar test with 100% as well.

You can do this!

pmabraham, BSN, RN

Has 3 years experience. Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care.

Good day:

Thank you all for your encouragement, and responses. I've ordered the 6th edition of the book to play safe (it looked like enough changed; I don't want to chance it). I appreciate and understand that part of the stress is the 100% pass/fail. What adds to my nerves is there is no class for me to take where an instructor can work with us or me to go over those areas that might not be sinking in, or (more importantly) to reinforce key areas.

I've setup a schedule over the next few months (my drug calculation test is in mid August) to start working on problems (using the 5th edition of the book until the 6th comes in later next week). For those of you who have gone through this or are going through this, can you name three (3) top areas to focus on for drug calculations that seems to be problematic for most students? i.e. if I can nail those 1 to 3 areas, the rest will be easy/easier?

Thank you!

rob4546, ADN, BSN

Has 6 years experience. Specializes in ICU.

Problematic?

Well most of the questions have extraneous numbers meant to distract you. Read the question and understand what numbers are needed and what are not.

Remember your conversion factors.

Remember the formula to change F to C. Assuming that you will be required to do so. We had to.

You will do fine. My instructors stated that they never have had one student fail to pass with 100%.

My school has different exams based on the class.

For my funds (PO drugs) exam, it was like learning a whole new language. This exam was in my 3rd week of 1st semester right in between my first 2 lecture exams. I had no idea how to do some of the problems and I bombed it (80%). Not knowing all of the conversion factors that they told us (like grains) was my problem. Also rushing was another problem...when I reviewed my test I actually put 5g=500mg. I've been working in a pharmacy for 7 years so I know that stuff. I just rushed and freaked out. So knowing your conversions and keeping calm is very helpful.

The medsurg/IV exam was a little easier for me because I was learning how to manage my time and study properly, but those questions tended to have more extra unnecessary info that you must navigate through. The types of questions that I had a problem with were something like this:

The patient has NS running at 125ml/hr as well as piggyback medication B of 500 mg running at 30ml/hr twice daily and piggyback medication C of 250 mg running at 45ml/hr three times daily. How many ml is the patient receiving per day? These questions threw me off because you had to so so many calculations. So make sure you set up those problems correctly and pay attention to any extra "fluff" info that you don't need. The mg of is unnecessary and threw people off.

For my peds exam (this one was the first one that I actually passed on the first time) there were questions that had to do with calculating body surface area, body mass index, dose/kg/day, Fahrenheit to Celsius, and calculating peds doses from adult doses. These questions involved lots of different formulas to remember which made it a bit more challenging but our instructors surprised us. After studying for weeks and memorizing these formulas, they passed out the test and to our amazement, the formulas were on the exam for us! My class did considerably better on this exam (usually about 1/3 to 1/2 of us fail and have to retake but for this only about 1/5 failed). I knew the formulas but if I didn't and they didn't surprise us I'm sure it would be a different story for me.

What I would recommend for you is to keep doing as many problems as you have and pay attention to the ones you're getting wrong and figure out why. I was usually the student who HATED math. I never took a college level math class prior to nursing because at the time my school only required the dosage calc class for my program (it has now changed to college algebra being a pre-req). Now math is one of my favorite subjects in nursing school and I enjoy helping the people in the cohorts behind me as well as the people in my cohort. So don't hesitate to ask questions if you're stumped with something and I'd be happy to help! I think you have a good system in place for utilizing your time before your test to practice!

pmabraham, BSN, RN

Has 3 years experience. Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care.

Thank you all for your help and encouragement!

LoriRNCM, ADN, ASN, RN

Has 3 years experience. Specializes in Hospice.

UGH I feel your pain. I hate math and we have to pass them with an 80 every semester. Which is not so bad but when you are a math phobe like I am...... I recommend dosage calculations for dummies. It's a big help.

pmabraham, BSN, RN

Has 3 years experience. Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care.

Thank you, lorirn2b. Right now, I'm working through the book I have (5th edition of calculate with confidence) trying to do a chapter a day (I just started this past Monday). I've also signed up for a daily practice problem from DosageHelp.com - Helping Nursing Students Learn Dosage Calculations plus as I have time I'm working on extra practice problems from DosageHelp.com - Helping Nursing Students Learn Dosage Calculations - Practice Questions

Congrats on your acceptance. There is also testandcalc.com. I have been searching for useful dosage calculation sites and found quite a few. Google drug dosage calculations and many sites pop up. Some have practice exams from different nursing schools in PDF that u can print out. I don't have any other advice for you. I don't start school til aug. I will say GOOD LUCK to you. I wish you the absolute best!!!

pmabraham, BSN, RN

Has 3 years experience. Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care.

Good day, Jayjormom:

Thank you for letting me know about that site and concerning searching for other sites / practice sets.

One of our instructors gave us a practice set of questions during first semester. I pull it out a week before we have to go back for a "skills fair" & math exam to study. It has always helped me pass each time.

We have this as well.

At our orientation, they opened up multiple (10 I believe) practice tests for us, and although we had to score a 100% on the dosage exam, you were allowed multiple attempts.

I was really worried- because I don't really like math, at all (and haven't had a math course in quite some time) but once you know the basic conversions you're fine. I honestly think the practice problems were much harder then our dosage exam.

I scored 100% the first time, but one piece of advice that almost tripped me up- READ the entire question over slowly. Often they will put other information in there that isn't necessary (just to try to trip you up)

thehumbleRN

Specializes in Cardiac Nursing.

For any kind of Kaplan, calculation, NCLEX style questions, go to Google and type in what you are looking for:

NCLEX calculations

NCLEX cardiology

NCLEX pharmacology

and a bunch of exam questions are available. You will find this very helpful. I've been an RN since Feb and it served me well.

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