Dose Calculations

Calculating the proper dose of medication is a critical aspect of administering medicine to a patient. Although the prescriber specifies a dose in the medication order, the dose prescribed may not be the same as the dose that is on hand, requiring the nurse to calculate a comparable dose based on available medication.

With intravenous (IV) medications, the prescriber might order a dose to be infused into the patient over a specific amount of time. The nurse must use this information to calculate the drip rate, which is used to set the IV so medication is administered at the proper rate.

Some medication orders prescribe a dose according to the patient's weight. The nurse is responsible for weighing the patient and then applying a formula provided by the prescriber to calculate the actual dose.

This chapter teaches you how to perform on hand calculations, IV calculations, and weight calculation in order to determine the proper amount of medication to administer.

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