Many nursing students will find dosage and calculations to be a very difficult class/topic to grasp in nursing school.
Grasping this topic is important. Unlike some other nursing school concepts, dosage calc is far-reaching.
What I mean by far-reaching is that you’re going to use it in pretty much every direct patient care job you’ll have as a nurse.
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You Need to Understand What is Dosage Calculations
The first part of being successful in dosage calculations is understanding what it is. I’ve already written an article on “What is Dosage Calculations?” so check that out for more info.
In a nutshell, dosage calc is doing math to calculate the exact dosage of a medication a patient needs based on what the physician ordered.
This part from the above sentence, “…dosage calc is doing math to calculate…” is important because it tells you precisely what dosage calculations are all about.
It’s doing math. Because it’s doing math, I believe you need to approach studying it like you would math.
So many nursing students find dosage calc hard because it’s very much based on math.
Tips to Pass Dosage Calculations
1. Don’t Miss Class
The very obvious but often not followed tip is to show up to class.
Doing medication math is different from other topics where you might get away with just looking at PowerPoint slides.
With dosage calc, you need to show up to class to see the problems actually worked out and explained in front of you.
2. Practice Practice Practice
With any math-based concept, practice is important. Dosage calc is no exception. Just looking at a textbook is not going to be sufficient.
Practice Makes Perfect.
I believe that is one of the popular sayings that’s often used. You’ll see that to hold true with dosage calc.
One of the reasons I push practice so much is that once you do enough similar problems, you’ll start understanding what you need to do to get to the correct answer.
You’ll know how to get to the correct answer even if you don’t understand why it should be the right answer.
3. Buy a Study Guide
There’s a lot of good dosage calc study guides available. Here’s a dosage calc practice guide you should consider.
If you’re a nursing student on a budget, this is a cheaper starting point than some of the other options.
There are other good study guides for dosage calc you should consider. Check them out here.
4. Get an Online Resource
If buying a study guide is not your cup of tea (I know it’s not for me), there are other options out there. One of those alternatives is to subscribe to an online resource for nursing students.
There are many options, but you can get the student academy platform I currently recommend by going through the link.
It’s a great platform that covers dosage calculations and a bunch of other topics nursing school is going to throw at you.
5. Get a Tutor
For the students who need more 1:1 help getting a tutor is probably your best bet.
I recommend using this platform because it will allow you to look through tutors who deal specifically with nursing school topics.
You can look at the tutor’s reviews and availability. Once you find one you like, you can then schedule an appointment.
Some only do online tutoring. Some do in-person tutoring, and some will do both. Either way, you get to find a tutor that’s highly rated and fits your needs.
7. Go to Your Instructors Office Hour
If you can’t afford a tutor, the next best thing is to go to your nursing professor’s office hours.
I push tutoring more for dosage calc because if you struggle with math, sometimes it can be hard to get the individual help you need from instructors.
The reason is that typically with math, there will be many students also struggling and going to the same office hours everybody else is going to. This means less individual time for you.
It’s not the wrong place to start. But if you find the individual help lacking, you might need to find a tutor.
6. Form a Study Group
Study groups can be an excellent resource for some students.
They can be a great place to find accountability and get help from other students who are strong in the topic you’re weak in, while you get to help them in the problems you’re strong in and they’re weak in.
Teaching others forces you to deeply understand the concept, reinforcing what you already know.
Just make sure the group finds a good place to study away from any distractions.
Some of the exams I had the best grades in during nursing school were when I spent a lot of time in groups teaching other students.
8. Use Online Free Resources
In the digital age, sometimes some of the best resources out there are actually free and readily available on the internet.
Platforms like YouTube have made learning cheap, convenient, and more accessible to the masses.
I’ve created some videos on dosage calc myself on YouTube. Many other nurses and nursing students have made helpful resources on dosage calc and other nursing school topics.
For these resources, make sure to look at them with a discerning eye. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for, and you’re not paying anything for them.
If you need quick guidance on what to do, here’s what I think. If you can afford it, hire a tutor.