Undertaking drug calculations for intravenous medicines and infusions
Evidence & Practice    

Undertaking drug calculations for intravenous medicines and infusions

Jane Brindley Senior lecturer in adult nursing, School of Nursing, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, England

Drug calculations for intravenous (IV) medicines and infusions are more complex than those for oral medicines. This article aims to assist nurses in evaluating and improving their competence in undertaking drug calculations for the IV route. Although nurses enter the professional register with an assessed level of medicines competence, nursing is a dynamic profession and competency can decrease over time, with literature demonstrating that nurses often have suboptimal drug calculation skills. This article enables nursing students to enhance their knowledge and understanding of IV drug calculations, and registered nurses to revisit this essential nursing skill. It is necessary to enhance nurses’ mathematical skills and conceptual knowledge related to drug calculations to reduce the incidence of medication errors.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2018.e11029




Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict of interest

None declared


Prepare for revalidation: read this CPD article, answer the questionnaire and write a reflective account: rcni.com/revalidation


For related articles visit the archive and search using the keywords

To write a CPD article

Please email tanya.fernandes@rcni.com. Guidelines on writing for publication are available at: rcni.com/writeforus

Received: 28 September 2017

Accepted: 07 November 2017

Published online: 25 January 2018

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Try 1 month’s access for just £1 and get:

Your subscription package includes:
  • Full access to nursingstandard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • The monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal
RCN student member? Try Nursing Standard Student
Already subscribed? Log in

Alternatively, you can purchase access to this article for the next seven days. Buy now