Drug Dosage Calculation Policy
Students enrolled in the Associate Degree Nursing Program are required to pass NUR 135: Drug Dosage Calculation with a grade of "C" or better. Students who are unsuccessful in this course are allowed to repeat the course once. The course must be successfully completed before entering the 2nd semester of the first year of the Nursing Program (prior to NUR 122).
Students have the following options:
- Enroll in NUR 135 during the summer semester prior to NUR 121.
- Enroll in NUR 135 with NUR 121.
- Students who fail NUR 135 during the summer semester must repeat the course during the fall semester. Students who fail in the fall semester may not proceed to NUR 122 the following spring semester.
Students will be held responsible for all dosage calculation problems covered in NUR 135 and in the Nursing Skills Lab. Dosage calculation questions will be given on all unit tests throughout the Nursing Program, after completion of the first nine weeks of the fall semester.
The use of a basic four-function calculator is permitted for dosage calculation problems during tests. No other electronic devices will be allowed (no cell phones or PDAs for example).
Refer to Calculate with Confidence by Gray Morris for complete information.
- When a decimal fraction is not preceded by a whole number, always place a "0" to the left of the decimal point. Ex. "0.12", not ".12" (must have "leading zeros")
- Never follow a whole number with a decimal point and zero. Ex. "3", not "3.0" (must not have "trailing zero's")
- Complete all calculations, then round your answer appropriately. Exception: When converting between pounds and kilograms and between Celsius and Fahrenheit: calculate to the hundredths place, then round to the tenths place, then complete other calculation required. Convert ounces to nearest 10th of a pound, then add to total pounds.
- Dosage amounts must include the correct unit label (e.g.10 mL, 2 tabs, 50 mg, etc.).
- Correct dosages are the fewest number of whole, undivided tablets possible.
- Select equipment with appropriate calibration for the dose you are to administer.
- When working with liquid/fluid preparations:
- If volume is less than 1 mL, round to the hundredths place (two decimal places). If math calculation does not work out evenly to the hundredths place, then carry division to the thousandths place (3 decimal places) and round to the nearest hundredths. Use a tuberculin (1 mL) syringe. Example: 0.876 mL = 0.88 mL
- If volume is greater than 1 mL, round to the tenths place (one decimal place).If math calculation does not work out evenly to the tenth place, then carry division to the hundredth place (2 decimal places) and round to the nearest tenth. Use a 3 mL syringe.
Example: 1.75 mL = 1.8 mL
- Maximum dosage volumes to be administered per IM injection site:
- Adult – Average 150 lb = 3 mL (1 mL in the deltoid site)
- Child – 6-12 years = 2 mL
- Child – birth-5 years = 0.5 – 1 mL
- Reconstitution labels must contain:
- Date & time prepared
- Strength or supply dosage of solution
- Length of potency (not expiration date on bottle)
- Storage directions
- Your initials
- Safe dosage ranges: generally doses are considered unsafe if they are under or over the safe dosage range.
- IV Infusion Calculations:
- When calculating IV infusions in mL per hour, round decimal fractions to the nearest whole milliliter.
- When calculating IV infusions in drops per minutes, round decimal fractions to the nearest whole number of drops.