Numeracy and patient safety: the need for regular staff assessment
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Numeracy and patient safety: the need for regular staff assessment

Paul Warburton Nurse independent and supplementary prescriber, senior lecturer and non-medical prescribing programme co-ordinator, and project lead, NHS North West Online Numeracy Assessment Tool, Faculty of Health, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk

The ability to perform calculations competently is a basic requirement for all nurses. Calculations are used in everyday tasks such as working out drug doses, body mass index and fluid balance charts. Healthcare staff may have problems with numeracy and this can lead to drug errors, which can have a devastating effect on patients. The author argues that healthcare professionals’ numeracy skills should be assessed on a regular basis using a recognised, validated and reliable assessment tool.

Nursing Standard. 24, 27, 42-47. doi: 10.7748/ns2010.


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