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Drug Calculation Tutorial

# Drug Calculation Tutorial

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Nursing basics for drug calculations.
Nursing basics for drug calculations.

Published by: Tracy on Oct 13, 2009

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05/11/2014

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Drug Calculation TutorialByMonica Major-Harris, RN, BSNLab Assistant, Simulated Learning Center for Health SciencesSouthern Illinois University EdwardsvilleSchool of NursingSeptember 14, 2007

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Drug Calculation Tutorial
Basic Math Review

One
MUST
know this acronym:
P
lease
E
xcuse
M
y
D
ear
A
unt
S
allyPEMDAS - This acronym stands for the order of operation in which mathcalculations must be solved (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division,Addition, and then Subtraction) If not performed in this order, the answer willbe wrong.

Fractions can be converted into a whole number (with or without decimals) bydividing the numerator (top #) by the denominator (bottom #).

To multiply fractions, first multiply all the numerators, then multiply all thedenominators. The final step is to reduce the final fraction down the lowestnumber which is done by dividing the numerator by the denominator. (Keepin mind you are staying on the top of the line all of the way across and on thebottom of the line all of the way across)

Percentages refer to parts per 100. For example, 3% is equal to 3 parts out of 100. It can be written as a fraction which in turn can be converted into adecimal or whole number by dividing by 100.For example:3% = 3 parts out of 100 = 3 = 0.03100

Ratios are proportions or fractions just written in a different format. In a ratio,the first number is the numerator, and the second number is the denominator.Instead of using a line with the numerator on the top and the denominator onthe bottom, the numerator and the denominator are separated by a colon (:).For example,1 : 2 = 1 part per 2 parts = 12which can then be turned into a fraction by dividing 1 by 2 = 0.5 and then intoa percentage by moving the decimal point two places to the right = 50%.

A decimal can be converted to a fraction by dividing by 1.

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A decimal can be converted to a percentage by multiplying by 100.
(Source: Nasrawi & Allender, 1999)
Drug Calculations 101

Rule #1 in drug calculations -
STICK TO ONE FORMULA!

Remember, drug calculation problems are simply story problems. You haveto develop a mathematical problem from the information that is provided.Reading comprehension is crucial in order to be successful at dosagecalculations. When reading the “story problem,” one must consider whatthey have read and ask themselves several questions. These should include:- What is being asked of me?- What do I need to solve for?- What units does my answer need to be expressed in?- What units do I need in my problem and what units to I need to getrid of?- Are there units in the problem that I need to convert in order to set upmy problem? (we always want to work with similar units wheneverpossible)- What information in the problem do I need, and what information do Inot need?- How do I set up my problem to leave only the desired units in theanswer?-
Does my answer make sense?
(
very important)

From the information that is provided in the problem to be solved, certainwords or phrases can provide the reader with clues as to how to set up theproblem. For example:The “Desire” or “Need” (what is ordered) in the problem is generallywritten as follows:- “You have an order to give”- “The doctor’s order reads, give…”- “The order reads”- “You have an order for”- “You are to give”- “Your patient has an order for”- “Amoxicillin 500 mg is ordered”

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