

The Pharmacology Clinical Calculations Course is a mathematics review course for those students who are currently registered for Foundations of Nursing or Nursing Seminar and who did not successfully complete the Pharmacology Placement exam. It is designed to assist these students to safely calculate, prepare, and administer medications.
The course is selfpaced. There will be a review of basic math concepts and an introduction to the formulas and skills necessary to solve drug dosage problems that occur in the practice of nursing.
It is a 2 noncredit course. The student does not receive credit towards his/her degree.
Prerequisite: Not achieving a passing grade on the pharmacology
placement test by August 30, 2003.
Corequisites: Current enrollment in Foundations of Nursing or
Nursing Seminar
Course Objectives:
By completion of this course the student will be able to:
 Utilize components of basic mathematics and safe nursing practice in the calculation, preparation, and administration of oral and parenteral medications.
 Calculate and interpret Centigrade and Fahrenheit temperatures.
 Utilize the metric, apothecary, and household system in calculating medications.
 Calculate conversions between the metric, apothecary and household systems.
 Perform calculations necessary for safe preparation of oral and parenteral medications.
Teaching Strategies: Discussion, group work on content, selfstudy
workbook and tests. Each scheduled class period will consist of discussion and group work and
individual testing on the unit. Class attendance with text is mandatory.
Students are expected to have read chapters and solved practice problems before coming to class. Areas of confusion or misunderstanding will
be discussed.
Evaluation Methods: Students must achieve an 85% on each unit quiz and on the final exam. Successful completion on one unit is required before the student may progress to the next unit. All unit quizzes must be completed before the student may take the final exam. Five (5) retakes are permitted for each unit quiz and the final exam. All quizzes and the final exam must be completed by the last class day. (This year 11/1/2003)
Text: Deborah Gray Morris, Calculate With Confidence, 3rd Edition, Mosby: St. Louis, Missouri, 2001.
Format: Mon. Section 1: 12:30 PM to 2:25 PM
Section 2: On Line Course.
Section 3: 8:30 AM to 10:20 AM.
Place: Section 1: N 123
Section 3: N 227
The course runs for 8 weeks, finishing November 1.
Week  Topic  Assignment  Web Sites 
1  Math Review  Unit One 
Basic Math Math Help 
2  Quiz1. Unit 1
Metric System, Temperature Conversion, Apothecary /HH Systems, Conversion Problems 
Chapters 6,7,8  Tutorial for
Nursing Students

3  Quiz Review. Retakes as needed. Dosage calculations  Chapters 13, 14  Ratio &
Proportion
Abbreviation Quiz 
4  Quiz2. Chapters 678,1314
Administration of Medications. 
Chapters 9, 10, 11, 12 

5  Quiz review. Retakes as needed. Calculation of medication doses.  Chapters 15, 16, 17  Solving Percent Problems 
6  Review of previous materials. Retest as needed. Insulin and Basic IV  Chapters 18, 20  IV Calculation
IV Problems 
7  Final Exam  all material to chapter 18.  
8  Review Final  retakes as needed. Heparin and Critical care calculations.  Chapters 21, 22  Titration 
9  Review for retakes. 
In addition to Basic Skills testing, all
students in the nursing program will be required to take the Pharmacology Clinical Calculations Placement test.
The Nursing Program requires the student to be proficient at using arithmetic in very practical ways. Medications, weights, temperatures are expressed using a variety of systems of measure in this country and you must be able to convert between systems. Many students come to college with the ability to apply their basic knowledge of arithmetic to this special area of nursing.
The Pharmacology Clinical Calculations Placement Test is designed to identify whether the student has the basic arithmetic knowledge and proficiency to carry out clinical calculations.
A passing score of 85 % is required on this test. If the score is below 85 %, the course Pharmacology Clinical Calculations Lab (68106 a two noncredit course) must be taken prior to or in conjunction with Foundations of Nursing (68101).
The Pharmacology clinical Calculations Laboratory course is scheduled during September and October. The final examination is given at the end of October to enable students to begin administering medications as part of their clinical practice. The student must pass the Pharmacology Clinical Calculations Laboratory course to meet course objectives for Foundations of Nursing.
On the following pages you will find the abbreviations, conversions, and formulas which you need to memorize to take the placement test. Also, you will find some examples of how to calculate medication dosages. If you feel you need more review, the course textbook is Gray: Calculate with Confidence, 3rd Ed, Mosby, 2001 and is available in the college bookstore. Material tested on is the first 17 chapters and temperature conversions on the inside of the back cover. You may also review on the internet at: http://accd.edu/sac/nursing/math/default.html or other resources listed on the course calendar page. The following are a list websites to use for reviewing concepts.
Dimensional Analysis
http://www.bertrodgers.com/OLC/healthcare/online/PDFs/dosage.pdf
http://www.bertrodgers.com/OLC/healthcare/online/PDFs/dosage.pdf
http://www.dalesplace.net/introduc.htm
http://www.ohlone.cc.ca.us/instr/nursing/NursingMath.html
http://web.indstate.edu/nurs/mary/mathprac.htm
http://web.indstate.edu/nurs/mary/mathprc2.htm
http://www.delta.edu/tlc/TLCStudySupport/mathforscience/NursingMath/nursingmath.html
WHEN YOU FEEL YOU HAVE MASTERED THIS INFORMATION, YOU MAY PROCEED TO THE MEDIA CENTER AT RVCC TO TAKE THE EXAM.
You may use scrap paper while completing the test. ALL scrap paper must be handed in to the media desk at the completion of the test. Calculators are permitted. Bringing information about pharmacology calculations and conversions into the testing center is considered cheating and anyone doing so will be immediately withdrawn from the nursing program.
EXAMPLES
MEDICATION ADMINISTRATION: Drugs are administered as solids in the form of tablets, capsules, or pills. As liquids they are administered orally in syrups or elixirs. Intravenously and intramuscularly they are administered as solutions. When the strength of the drug supplied by the manufacturer is different from the dose prescribed by the physician or advanced nurse practitioner, dosage calculation is needed.
For instance, if you want to take 600mg of Tylenol, and each pill supplied
300mg, you would have to take 2 pills. However, if these pills were labeled in grains you would have to convert
grains (gr) to milligrams (mg) before you would know how many pills to take.
If 1gr=60mg, then 600mg. would
be equal to 10grains (600/60). If each pill
provided 5gr (300mg), you would then take 2 pills to get 600mg.
If you were giving liquid Tylenol to a baby, and were told to give 50mg that is supplied by a liquid containing 100mg/1teaspoon, you would give ½ teaspoon. In the hospital, you would need to know 1 teaspoon = 5ml, so you would give the baby 2 ½ ml.
If the medicine was to be given by injection, and you are to give 50mg. which is supplied by a solution containing 100mg/ml, you would draw up ½ ml to give the correct dose.
Some drugs such as Penicillin are prescribed and measured by units, which just expresses a standard of strength. For example, a pill can contain 5,000 units or 10,000 units of medication. Units are used in drug conversion problems in the same way weight measurements are used (5 units/tablet or 5units/ml, etc.).
For some people, visualizing the dose prescribed and the amount of medicine in the pill or liquid is clearer when expressed as a ratio. In the above example of the liquid Tylenol, you would identify the ratio of the prescribed medication (50mg) to what is available (100mg) as 50:100, or ½ and give ½ of the teaspoon. An equation that expresses this is:
100mg:1tsp::50mg:x tsp.
Percentage strengths are used to understand
intravenous solutions. Percentage (%) means parts per hundred.
A percentage solution represents the number of grams of drug per 100 ml
of solution. For example, 100ml of a 1% solution will contain 1 gram of drug or solute. 50ml of a 1%
solution will contain 0.5gm. of drug or solute.
ABBREVIATIONS USED IN PLACEMENT TEST
gr. grain
C Centigrade or Celsius
F Fahrenheit
g., gm., G ..Gram
kg ..kilogram
l .liter
lb ...pound
m ...minum
mcg microgram
mg .milligram
ml ..milliliter
oz ..ounce
tsp .teaspoon
U ...Unit
APPROXIMATE EQUIVALENTS, WEIGHTS AND VOLUMES USED IN TEST
Liquid volume Dry weight volume ½ oz 15 ml 1000mcg. 1 mg. 1 oz 30ml 1000mg 1 G 15 m 1 ml (1 cc) 1gr. 60mg. (0.06G) 1 tsp 5ml 15gr. 1 G 2.2lb 1000G (1 kg)
General Information Regarding the Placement Test:
1. You may take the test only once..
2. Time to take the test: 60 minutes
3. Passing score: 17 of 20 questions (85%)
4. Guessing does not affect the score.
5. DO NOT WRITE ANYWHERE ON THE TEST.
6. You may use scrap paper while completing the test. ALL scrap paper must be turned in with your answer sheet.Calculators may be used during the placement test. Conversion tables must be memorized. Bringing information about pharmacology calculations and conversions into the testing center is considered cheating and anyone doing so will be immediately withdrawn from the nursing program.
Created 5/15/00
Ann B. Fives, RN, MS
Revised 6/03/02 by Helen W. Jones, RN, APN, C. PhD.